Keeping (All) Your Documents Including Digital Mail Behind The Ethical Wall

Remember when document management systems were implemented as a way to maintain versions of a document?  With the advent of PCs, WordPerfect, and a server to store documents on – version control was something that law firms could quickly lose control of.   Document management systems became the way to manage the authoring process – and a big upside was the ease of sharing documents.

Of course, along with the sharing of documents came the issue of over-sharing, or managing ethical walls between clients and attorneys.  This fostered the invention of ethical wall solutions which helped automate managing document sharing and access.

Today, document management systems are responsible for much more than ethical wall security.  Evolving legal requirements surrounding client confidentiality and data privacy concerns are among the risks forcing law firms to re-evaluate their technology infrastructure and policies for securing client matter information subject to an ethical wall.[1]

This is why the document management system is the technology of choice for 98% of all law firms to protect and govern sensitive client information.

When scanned mail items are trafficked outside of the DMS, a firm cannot secure or govern information nor place it behind proper ethical walls to avoid conflicts. So how could we go wrong?

 Don’t Forget the Daily Mail

The notion of scanning paper and securing the scan within the DMS seems to have been forgotten regarding daily mail, but the concerns of conflicts and need for ethical walls reside here as well.  Legal mail items contain sensitive client information. At the onset of the pandemic, most law firms cobbled together a quick fix in scan-to-email, but this method involves a variety of security risks that put law firms – and their client’s sensitive information — at risk.

Scan-to-email solutions mean vital documents are left drifting through cyber-space, often left in email inboxes or perhaps an email folder – without the security of the DMS. The solution: a best practice Digital Mailroom operation.

A best practice digital mailroom operation is the answer because it delivers documents not as email attachments but directly into the firm’s DMS where sensitive client information can be properly secured and governed — completely negating the risks created through scan-to-email. A digital mailroom utilizes intelligent, asynchronous processes to enable clerical operators to work efficiently and securely.

Not only can a best practice Digital Mailroom be created, but they already have been. DocSolid’s Airmail2 Digital Mailroom completely transforms the law firm’s paper centric mail into a secure and efficient digital operation that enables the hybrid work environment.

With Airmail2, skilled mailroom staff (those that can accurately determine appropriate client-matter-folder) can profile scanned mail items directly to the DMS.  This is accomplished without the need to provide direct access to the DMS (which should be reserved only for qualified legal staff and attorneys).  The benefit of this approach is the shift of the profiling step from legal staff or attorneys to the mailroom team.  Airmail2 also supports profiling scanned mail items by recipient (easily determined by addressing information on the mail item)  – a method that is deployed to mailroom staff who are less skilled.

The scan-to-email solutions firms conjured as a response to the pandemic were only designed as a stop gap and never intended for long-term use. The hybrid legal workplace is here to say. Airmail2 Digital Mailroom enables productive, secure delivery of daily mail directly into the DMS. Learn more about the Airmail2 and how to transform your law firm’s mailroom and institute best practice principles for security and governance in our latest white paper here.

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Michael Herzog
Author: Michael Herzog

Marketing Director at DocSolid. Professional storyteller and wordsmith. Producer of creative content and business video for legal tech. UX/CX innovator.