While not true of all law firms, many face the following challenges when attempting to go matter-centric, regardless of DMS platform:
- Too many document types.
- Practice groups / departments that recognize the problem but can’t easily agree on which types may be removed, consolidated, and reorganized.
- Resistance to a design heavy approach where consensus has to be reached before any significant technical steps can be taken.
- No record (in the DMS) of which practice area a given matter belongs to. This may be compounded by the matters, especially older matters, not having been coded to the proper practice areas within the financial or matter-management system.
A typical approach which we’ve taken with multiple DMS technologies, with and without Extended Dynamic Views (EDV), tends to focus on reporting on metadata usage, studying folder structures in use, meeting with departments, mapping folders to practice codes from the financial/matter system, and working to a consensus among many users with different needs, wants, and expectations of the system. All of this has merit however it also typically all occurs before any tangible benefit is delivered to end-users. It’s no surprise then that without a strong commitment from those backing the effort, the project falters, delivers a less than optimal outcome, or never even starts.