7 use cases of document collaboration
Legal27 January, 2021

7 use cases of document collaboration before and after tech implementation for Legal remote work

Agile working is not a completely new phenomenon in the legal sector. The shift to remote working may have been slow and steady as technology advances in the last decade have paved the path for decentralisation of work.  

However, the COVID crisis has just accelerated this trend by pushing more and more legal departments and law firms to work from home. Among tools to facilitate working remotely, document collaboration is by far one of the most important tools to have to ensure legal professionals can continue to work uninterrupted.  

Indeed, The 2020 Legal Departments in a Digital Era Report by the European Company Lawyers Association (ECLA) & Wolters Kluwer identified that 95% of legal departments in Europe are focusing on tools for document collaboration

Keeping in mind all the above, here are 7 instances of document collaboration before and after implementing tech tools as the legal sector evolves through agile working.

Simultaneous editing

Before: Multiple stakeholders trying to edit the same document at the same time just to end up being confused over multiple versions of the same file with no visibility over the most up to date version. 

After: Work on a single version of the same document while the changes are updated in real-time! With document collaboration tools, stakeholders work on a collaborative document hub – making edits made to a document immediately visible to all stakeholders, no matter where they're working and which device they're using. Edits or comments on a file can be made after it's been created – or in real-time. What’s more, with the display of all edits in a revision history, you can view who proposed changes and when, and who accepted or rejected them. 

Discussions on documents  

Before: Exchange multiple emails among stakeholders over a document with no visibility into key information or the latest email in the thread. 

After: Legal works with complex documents that might require more in-depth discussion. With document collaboration tools, you can continue a conversation in a relevant context – directly in the corresponding segment. You can even choose whether to make your comment visible to all the individuals with access to a document or to communicate directly with specific stakeholders. This means it's no longer necessary to send separate emails for more confidential discussions. 

Tracking changes

Before: Changes are on documents made by multiple stakeholders with no clear view of what they are, just to end up wasting time comparing versions manually searching for edits. 

After: With a smart document collaboration tool, all stakeholders can be aware of any new content changes, which are immediately highlighted in a file - significantly streamlining the editing process. What’s more, users can view old revisions of clauses, and revert changes as far back as they want. When files are all audited and tracked, mistakes can easily be undone 

Working with Word

Before: Word quickly reaches its limits if multiple individuals need to work on a single file, which means stakeholders will have restrictions editing documents resulting in delays. 

After: Stakeholders can continue to work in Word, if it is integrated into the document collaboration tool, with no limitations over edits. Thanks to the intuitive import/export functions, you can easily integrate changes made offline into your document online.  

Comparing multiple documents

Before: Multiple stakeholders send in multiple documents with changes already made and you have to not only look for changes but also compare each of them against the original document manually, wasting hours and hours! 

After: With smart document collaboration tools, you can compare multiple documents with a single click to see who wants to change what. With built-in comparison technology, not only can you compare as many Word files as you like with your documents within the document collaboration tool (peer review), you can generate a report within seconds summarising who wants to make which changes or additions. The suggested edits can then easily be incorporated into the original document. 

Setting permission 

Before: Every stakeholder who has access to the document can view and edit the documents, with Word providing very limited functions over access rights, exposing the entire business to compliance risks. 

After: A document collaboration tool will allow you to assign access rights to stakeholders to revise and approve, based on their role. With a modular permissions concept, from reading rights to decision-making, plus secure approval functions for individual documents or entire projects, internal/external partners or clients can work on files easily, ensuring compliance

Data security

Before: Legal documents are stored in various folders and shared via emails and multiple file-sharing tools with the risk of information ending up with unauthorised people. 

After: As far as the document collaboration tool is on a secure cloud platform and the vendor can certify the safety of your documents, you can protect your documents by storing them in a secure environment. What’s more, you can control access to your data within the document itself and ensure information is visible only to authorised parties.

Streamlining document creation with collaborative tools can surely deliver greater efficiency and reliability which are essential especially as the legal sector conforms to new ways of working.

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