Law Technology News
August 2000
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Second Opinions

Upgrading from SoftSolutions on Novell

For more information about the products or services discussed in Second Opinions, please use the Reader Response Card enclosed in this issue, or visit http://lawtech.hotresponse.com

Novell: Circle no. 223

Worldox: Circle no. 224

iManage: Circle no. 225.

Time Matters: Circle no. 226

GroupWise 5.5: Circle no. 230.

Lotus Notes: Circle no. 231.

Corel WordPerfect: Circle no. 227.

Microsoft Word: Circle no. 228.

Microsoft SQL: Circle no. 229

Microsoft Exchange: Circle no. 232.

Microsoft Outlook: Circle no. 233.

Questions for Second Opinions should be sent to lawtech@amlaw.com.

Independent consultants and lawyers who are interested in serving as authors in our Second Opinion column should send a resume to lawtech@amlaw.com. No phone calls please.


What Is Document Management?
Editor's note: You get a summer bonus this month: three opinions, instead of our usual duet!

A Missouri reader asks: We are a 100-plus attorney law firm (approximately 250 total users) running Novell Netware 5 and Groupwise 5.5 for e-mail. We need to upgrade our document management program, SoftSolutions 4.1, running with WordPerfect 6.1. We are considering Groupwise document manager, and we will be upgrading to WordPerfect 9. Suggestions? Alternatives?

Article by:
Guy Wiggins 
Wells Anderson
Ross L. Kodner

What Is Document Management?

MOST FIRMS spend most of their time with the "core" techno-basics. That means pumping out documents, tracking and billing time, calendaring dates, checking conflicts, using case and contact info. But document production -- operations incorporating word processing, document management and work product retrieval, document assembly, and, as an adjunct, e-mail -- remains the most used application.

Document management is less variable than the nebulous concept of case management, or the even vaguer notion of "knowledge management." But it is subject to differing definitions.

Here are typical functions of document management:

1. Organize Documents: The overall goal is to organize documents in a consistent, logical manner, usually in a system analogous to a paper filing system. This makes it simple to find documents, so long as you know what client/matter the work was done for or what practice area the form they seek is for.

2. Search Capabilities: The program should allow searching, via plain English query screens.

Also helpful: the ability to perform the same or a similar search by saving the search screens for later recall.

3.Tools: Everything else is secondary, but important tools to look for include version control, document change tracking, automated document archiving, automatic file-naming, the ability to check documents out, and to temporarily lock them so others can't mess with them, and document categorization via customizable profile fields.

4. Bells and whistles: Little extras can be godsends. For example, Worldox has a great "fail safe" feature called "document mirroring," that saves a secondary copy of network-saved documents.

These are located in a folder structure that mimics the network folder structure, on the user's local hard drive. The Worldox system retains them for a preset number of days.

In the event of a server failure, the user switches to local operation and can work with these mirrored files.

When the server returns to normal functionality it knows the users were working locally and asks if they want to resynchronize those docs back to the server.

The same mirroring/re-synching function is effectively a remote laptop mode for users who will work away from the office and then reconnect to the network.

--Ross Kodner

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