What Legal Email Management Is and Why Attorneys Need It
With the average office worker receiving about 126 emails per day and employees requiring upwards of 20 minutes to regain momentum after an interruption, emails can increasingly hinder — and not always help —productivity.
When focusing on the legal profession, productivity challenges around email are often amplified as attorneys typically receive significantly more email communications than the average worker. Additionally, attorneys are required to file each email communication and associated attachments into project or matter files — adding to time spent away from critical tasks.
Luckily, legal email management systems (EMS) are here to help and can dramatically reduce the time attorneys spend in their inboxes.
In this article, we’ll be exploring what email management is, why forward-thinking legal firms are adopting email management systems, and critical questions to ask when searching for an EMS.
What is email management for law firms and in-house legal teams?
An EMS involves the systematic control of all email communications within an organization to mitigate the risk of a compliance or data breach. Using an EMS will help attorneys adhere to data policies while maximizing in-office time and ensuring they don’t lose track of important messages.
Legal teams of all types can and should look into overhauling their traditional email setups in favor of a system that can provide productivity enhancements for attorneys.
Small firms benefit from the ability to build complete digital matter files without adding to daily workflows. Email management systems also improve the speed and efficiency of onboarding new attorneys, free up space on email servers as the firm grows, and save precious time as attorneys tend to client needs.
An EMS provides large firms with a variety of benefits. In addition to the time savings and efficiency enhancements, an EMS makes it easy for attorneys and their staff to follow compliance policies and keep everything organized in a central location no matter where they are in the world — a huge boon when it comes to keeping track of both large-scale and minute details across multiple offices.
Corporate Legal Teams
Corporate attorneys are constantly challenged to become more of true legal generalists — which means they’re working on a variety of unrelated projects with internal and external stakeholders alike. This all can lead to incredible influxes of email.
An EMS provides in-house attorneys with a smooth way to keep everything organized, filed, and moving along as they continue to wrangle their workloads.
Challenges of legal email management
Attorneys face unique challenges and requirements when it comes to managing email. Let’s take a look at four of the major problems that often arise:
- Compliance. In addition to attorneys having to answer and follow up on emails, legal professionals have ethical obligations to file, save, and store digital communications within project- or matter-based files.
- Collaboration. For team members to collaborate effectively, everyone needs to be on the same page. Filing emails in the appropriate folders and workspaces is necessary for everyone on the team to have access to the information they need.
- Consistency. You may be saving everything precisely as it’s supposed to be saved… but is the rest of your team? Achieving a consistent standard of organization is absolutely vital for everyone to find what they need, when they need it.
- Convenience. All the extra steps of filing emails require more time spent away from critical tasks and production. To be successful, and email management system must make it easier for attorneys to keep their inboxes streamlined and productive.
The best email management benefits for legal professionals
EMS created for legal professionals are built to help file and organize communications faster so attorneys can focus on serving their clients. With that in mind, law firm email management systems provide two main benefits: enhanced organization and maximized productivity. But that’s certainly not all they offer.
For attorneys, document organization is critical as sensitive information is shared dozens of times daily. Potentially losing track of an email that contains highly confidential, or even time-sensitive material, could place the business at risk.
An EMS created with legal professionals in mind enables even the busiest employees to fully comply with standardized record-keeping policies and ethical obligations.
Imagine being able to quickly file each communication and attached document directly into a client or project’s secure matter file without ever leaving the email system — that’s entirely possible when utilizing a robust EMS that integrates directly with a document management system (DMS).
As emails are filed directly into the matter or project file, lawyers and their firms or companies will enjoy a number of benefits, including:
- Reduced risk of information handling errors
- Decreased instances of lost or mislabeled information
- Complete matter or project files in accordance with ethical guidelines
- Deeper collaboration among teams as work is easily located and shared
Of course, improved organization alone will certainly provide a boost to any organization’s productivity, but an EMS built for legal professionals can provide so much more. Through features such as anywhere access and artificial intelligence, legal teams will have the tools they need to dramatically increase their output.
Cloud-based EMS, such as ndMail by NetDocuments, enable attorneys to file emails anywhere on any device. This means that whether they are in the car, the courtroom, or working from home, attorneys will be able to fully complete their work, leaving nothing undone.
With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), users can often file emails in one, or even zero, clicks when using an EMS directly within their email system. This means attorneys can stay focused on their tasks at hand and avoid switching between multiple systems, interrupting their concentration.
How to choose the best email management solution for law firms and legal teams
While the features of an EMS depend on the specific system, there are several key features recommended to have with any vendor:
A robust EMS, like ndMail, will provide necessary integrations with a firm’s document management system (DMS) in order to mirror the organization structure in the DMS to the email system. This ensures that emails and attachments can be easily filed in the correct locations — which then increases adherence to compliance and information governance policies across the firm.
Cloud-hosted EMS solutions offer anywhere-access, making it possible for employees to search, access, and file emails, whether they’re in the office, meeting with external stakeholders, or finishing up important tasks at home.
An EMS should seamlessly integrate with the applications and tools your team is using as a whole, to enhance effective collaboration and smooth out any kinks in workflows.
With that in mind, EMS that integrate directly with attorney’s favorite tools, such as Microsoft’s Outlook and the DMS, allow the EMS to function as the connective tissue for critical platforms and attorney’s work.
Ace Email Management with ndMail
At the heart of ORGANIZE is NetDocuments, the leading cloud-based document management platform for legal professionals.Together, NetDocuments and ndMail provide an array of tools to help you get more done, faster.