Paperless Filing Systems
Evernote – Evernote is a cloud-based online filing system that can be used to record notes, pictures, audio, screenshots of web pages, emails, etc. It can be synced with other cloud-based storage services like Dropbox for extra back-up. Ranges from free to $45 a year. I’ve experimented with using Evernote as a task manager and case management tool, but I now use Asana for the former and OneNote for the latter. I have found Evernote to be optimal instead as a means to store reference material — everything from legal research resources to CLE certificates to friends’ addresses to possible schools to send my kids to in the future. The tagging feature of Evernote is what makes it so perfect for this purpose: I can assign as many tags to a “note” as I want, which has the effect of filing the same record in as many different places as I want. Or, if I don’t want to navigate my tags, I can search for a note using the Search function.
OneNote – While I use Evernote primarily to store reference material, I use OneNote for active case management. Although Evernote and OneNote, both tools for storing documents, video, audio, notes, etc., have many similar features — cloud-based, usable on a variety of devices, easily searchable — Microsoft’s OneNote looks much more like a paper-based filing system. It thus feels much more navigable to a luddite like me. I can open a “Notebook” for a case, then create files (e.g., “Legal Research,” “Witnesses,” “Court Filings,” etc.), and then fill each file with pages. Each page is theoretically unlimited in length and width so you can put as much on there as you want — type, screenshots from webpages (Mac users can’t yet embed documents), and the like.
NetDocuments – Cloud-based document and email storage and management. Makes it easy to manage versions, track history, send email notifications about document changes, and search your own database. A powerful way to ensure that your documents are doubly backed up and secure.
Worldox – Another more sophisticated tool to organize and manage documents.
Case Management Tools
I use Evernote and OneNote, both discussed above, for case management as well as document storag. A legal nonprofit I volunteer at does all its case management on Salesforce, which is free for nonprofits. The nonprofit uses Salesforce to manage cases, contacts, outside partners, donations — everything. Salesforce integrates with Google Drive so that in theory single piece of “paper” in the entire office is accessible from anywhere, through Salesforce. I think Salesforce requires a significant initial investment to customize for your particular needs, though. Other tools that can be adapted for case management:
Basecamp – A project management service that allows lawyers to create, store and edit case files. Files are organized by case and are time-stamped. Other Basecamp users can collaborate on files, but, unlike Salesforce, for example, cannot collaborate on files across other platforms. Basecamp prices vary based on the specific needs of the user.
Daylite – A practice management tool with some limited document management features. Most attorneys use this in conjunction with HotDocs.
ERM Legal Solutions – Allows lawyers to manage and budget legal matters, including assigning tasks, prioritizing individuals’ workloads, tracking progress, and discerning availability of the firm’s resources.
FileMaker Pro – Manage contacts, cases, projects, invoices, and much more.