The core asset of every law firm and legal organization is information. Lawyers sift through enormous amounts of information on a daily basis -- everything from client files to printed contracts to the emails they receive on their smartphone. Making sense of all this information and ensuring that it's sufficiently protected and accessible is a daunting, but absolutely necessary, task.
Records management, often abbreviated "RM," is the strategy organizations employ to manage such information. RM is the process of identifying, organizing, maintaining, and accessing all of the records created or received by an organization in its day-to-day operations. These records can be electronic or paper and include virtually everything that passes through an organization's doors. There are many reasons a firm or individual might employ a particular RM strategy, but the most important reasons are the most practical: improving productivity, cutting costs, and complying with legislative, regulatory, and internal policy requirements.
Below is a listing of some helpful informational resources regarding RM, as well as a listing of some of the major RM solutions currently available.
Legal Technology Resource Center
- Herding Cats: Managing Electronic Data in a Law Firm (PDF)
Electronic data - email, forms, documents, spreadsheets, and databases - must be effectively managed to both tap into its true potential and for retention and compliance. In this presentation for the Chicago Bar Association, strategies for using technology, planning, and training to effectively manage electronic data were reviewed.
- A Necessary Security Blanket: Document Retention Policies
This article explores the creation of document retention policy best practices and provides solutions for retention of electronic documents.
American Bar Association
- Law Firm Document Retention Policies
- Old Docs, New Tricks: Knowledge Databases Made Easy
- Record Retention And Destruction: Current Best Practices (PDF)
- Information Security for the Small and Medium-Sized Law Firm (Audio CD Package)
- The Lawyer's Guide to Records Management and Retention
- Records and Document Retention Policies for Attorney eCommunications (Online Course)
American Association of Law Libraries
- Records Retention in the Private Legal Environment: Annotated Bibliography and Program Implementation Tools (PDF)
- Guide to Record Retention Requirements
Law.com Legal Technology
Lexis Nexis Applied Discovery Law Library
- “Is Your Firm’s E-mail Disappearing Into a Black Hole?” (PDF)