Legal records management: what you need to know

Contract process
October 21, 2022

Legal records management plays an important role in fast-growth businesses. But it’s hard work. This guide explains what legal records management is, why it matters, and how you can make it more efficient in 2023. Read on to find out more. 

What is legal records management?

Legal records management is the process used to create, store, and organize legal records. Examples of these legal records include business contracts, case notes, and other legal documents

Legal records management typically involves establishing storage and filing solutions for legal documents, as well as ensuring the data within them is handled according to data protection and privacy laws. 

But that isn’t the only reason why legal records management matters. Effective legal records management systems can have many benefits. Let’s explore a few of them now. 

What are the benefits of effective legal records management?

1. Secure storage for documents 

One of the most obvious benefits of effective legal records management is better contract storage

When managed poorly, legal records can be at risk of getting lost or damaged. This is a challenge for businesses that store their legal documents in physical filing cabinets. 

But it isn’t just security that’s a problem. Storing contracts in this way often means trawling through piles of paperwork just to find the small bits of information, like when a contract renews or ends. 

This can be a costly contract management mistake, as many businesses know well. 

Take contracts, for example. Losing a contract can mean losing sight of important deadlines too. This can result in unwanted contract renewals or even a breach of contract in severe cases.  

But, when contracts are managed using a contract storage solution, this isn’t a problem. Using a contract tool like Juro enables legal teams to store contracts securely, with granular access controls and consolidated document records so you know where your contracts are at all times. 

To find out more about Juro’s smart storage solution for contracts, hit the button below. Otherwise, read on. 

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2. Keep files confidential 

Legal records contain a lot of confidential information. The problem is, the more documents you have to manage, the harder it is to maintain that confidentiality

When files are scattered across shared drives or in filing cabinets, it can be impossible to restrict who can access what. This is particularly problematic when it comes to employment contracts, commercial agreements, and other documents that contain sensitive data. 

Using a legal records management tool can help to eliminate this problem. 

For example, contract management software like Juro enables users to set permission controls over contracts. It also gives teams access to separate workspaces where they can store their contracts and have control over who can access them.

Features like these are a great way to involve other teams in the creation and management of legal records without losing control of them. 

3. Less time wasted 

Effective legal records management also means less time wasted searching for legal documents and the data within them. 

Legal records often affect multiple teams within a business. Each department needs access to certain data from these records. But finding the right documents and retrieving data from them can be a time-consuming task.

First, you have to locate the document. Then you need to read through the entire file to find the data you need. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably want to record that data somewhere, like in a spreadsheet, for future use. 

Better legal records management can make finding this information much easier, particularly if you have the right legal software in place. 

For example, Juro’s all-in-one contract management tool makes contracts fully searchable using OCR. This means that contracts can be filtered and found in seconds. Juro users can also set up contract reporting. This means teams within the business always have quick and easy access to the contract data they need to make decisions. 

By improving visibility into your legal records, you can avoid having to trawl through masses of paperwork to access the information you need.

Who is responsible for managing legal records?

In-house legal teams are typically responsible for managing legal records. However, some businesses outsource records management to law firms instead. Other businesses will even rely on document storage companies to manage their legal records. 

While outsourcing legal records management can save businesses time and space, it’s also an expensive way to manage legal documents, and it can make it difficult to access the files as and when you need them.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to manage your legal records in-house, and with less fuss. 

Legal records management tips 

1. Digitize your documents 

One of the best legal record management tips is to digitize your documents and opt for a paperless office. After all, it’s far easier to store digital documents than it is to store physical ones. 

But it’s not just easier to store them. Digital documents are also much easier to organize, collaborate on, and update than physical documents. This makes digitizing your legal records a great option for scaling businesses that have plenty of legal records, like contracts, to manage. 

“In a few clicks, the contracts are saved in one place, and we derisk in terms of data management and keeping track of our legal documents” Clio Anderson Garwood, Senior Legal Counsel, Paddle

2. Automate routine admin work 

It sounds obvious, but you should also try to automate the tasks you find most time-consuming and painful. 

For a contract manager, this could mean using software like Juro to automatically extract data from your legal records and present it in a user-friendly contract dashboard. It could also mean setting up automated contract renewal reminders for new contracts. 

There are plenty of tools on the market that automate the administrative work required when managing legal documents, from legal matter management software to CLM tools

3. Familiarize yourself with laws and regulations 

When managing legal records, it’s important to comply with data protection laws and regulations.

If you’re lucky enough to have a lawyer or attorney in your business, this is something they’ll be able to help with. Some businesses will even have dedicated Data Protection Officers (DPOs) on hand to help. 

Either way, it’s worth understanding the laws you need to comply with from the offset. Doing this enables you to build processes that comply with the rules by default. 

4. Communicate your processes across the business

It isn’t just legal teams that come into contact with legal records. That’s why it’s important to communicate the processes you use to manage your legal records across the business, rather than working in silos.

This can be done using company-wide announcements, playbooks or even by building workflows into the systems your teams use. 

Whatever you choose, it’s important to make sure you’re giving other teams the resources and understanding they need to access and manage legal records effectively. 

"It takes the sales team four clicks to generate and approve a contract in Juro" - Callum Hamlett, Senior Revenue Operations Analyst, Paddle

Need help managing contracts? 

If managing contracts is painful for your business, Juro can help. Juro is the all-in-one contract automation platform that enables all teams to streamline the creation, execution and management of routine contracts at scale.

Fill in the form below to find out more about how Juro’s end-to-end solution can enable your business to automate legal contracts at scale.  

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