The library is in a unique position to assist other departments in a law firm beyond the usual managing books and journals. An IT department has many options at its disposal but equally many demands on time and resources. It’s the natural place to go for any technology solution.
How can the library and its expertise and resources help the firm?
The librarian is the master of metadata and controlling physical and electronic assets is a natural condition. The simplicity and flexibility of the Soutron database technology used by the Library solves all kinds of data management problems in a very cost effective and productive manner.
Example: Managing Records and Title Deeds Securely
A good example of the speed and flexibility that the library can provide to a situation is how Soutron could be set up to manage Deeds for the Commercial Property department in a law firm. Title deeds are documents that show who has owned land and property since it was registered. They record any mortgages secured on the property and are used to legally prove the ownership of a property or piece of land. Deeds need to be securely tracked and as original documents it’s very important that the firm knows where they are at all times. Lawyers need to see the original source documents to complete transactions for commercial properties and the documents pass across different lawyers desks at different stages in the process.
There are integrated systems that offer deeds management functions but these can be complex and rigid and incur additional licence costs and take time to implement. Many firms probably use Excel, which, when there is nothing else available becomes the default tool for every task.
The Records Manager is normally given responsibility for documenting and recording each deed that comes into the office and setting in place the tracking facility so that when a deed is with a lawyer it’s location is known to the system. The Librarian can set up Soutron so that the deeds can be managed within their own Portal, with their own security access permissions so that they are only issued to those with the authority to have them and are not seen by anyone outside of the Property team.
The Librarian controls the set up and configuration. It’s a simple task to create the fields and record template for deeds. It literally takes a few minutes to add a new record template to include the facility to upload any electronic attachments. Bar codes can be automatically assigned so that tracking a physical deed document is easy to do.
Prime documents are easily tracked with workflows to make it easy to issue items to lawyers, update change of status and automate recall of deeds after a certain amount of time or to inform lawyers of the documents they (should) have in their possession. An audit trail provides management with the confidence that governance standards are being applied and documents are secure within the firm and if needed the system could be extended further to integrate with case files via API’s.
The library is such a resourceful and create place. It can help in different ways especially when it comes to managing records and vital information.
Learn more about:
Graham Beastall – Senior Consultant and Managing Director. Graham’s background is in Accountancy, Public Administration, Organizational Theory and Library Technologies with a deep technical understanding of databases and web technologies. More posts by Graham.
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