Document management systems (DMS) help businesses organize and manage their documents. As law firms of every size often deal with large quantities of documents containing sensitive and confidential information, a DMS can help them digitize paper documents and securely store and share these for more efficient business process. Because of its innovative technology, security, support for data compliance, and ability to integrate with legal firm software, our selection for Best Document Management Software/Systems for Law Firms 2018 is M-Files.  

According to an article in the ABA Journal, "Here's the Legal Lowdown on Document Management Software,"  the document management components in the practice management software a law firm currently uses may be sufficient for solo practices or small firms in practice areas that are not document heavy. But for small firms that manage massive amounts of documents, finding a stand-alone system that can integrate well with your existing practice management and accounting software may be extremely beneficial.

M-Files describes its offering as an Intelligent Information Management solution - the step beyond enterprise content management (ECM) or DMS. Its technology is set up to organize your documents based on what they are not where they're stored. The M-Files OCR add on can assist you in scanning your multitudes of paper documents as it works with any scanner type and is compatible with most file formats. M-Files then organizes your files in a manner that fits the way you work, and PDFs are fully searchable so you can find documents based on content not title.    

With the amount of sensitive information law firms manage, it's critical to ensure that digital files are securely stored and shared. M-Files is an ISO 27001 Certified ECM provider. Their security features include automatic access control settings for content, audit trails, multi-factor authentication, encryption, key management, data-loss prevention, and more. They are also aware of the role their system can play in meeting industry compliance and claim that they help reduce the risk of non-compliance in the way their system organizes, records and automates everything in your business.

To support law firms, M-Files offers:

  • Contract Lifecycle Management

  • Support for all five phases of eDiscovery

  • Case and Matter Management

  • Integration with a variety of software including some legal practice management and accounting software

One challenge for small firms may be the price tag. The company does not offer levels of plans as some competitors do. To understand which features you'll need, you must speak with a sales person. When we contacted M-Files, we were told that solutions are customized to meet client needs and start at under $2,000/year.

Motivation to consider this solution may be found by reading what others have to say about it. On Capterra.com M-Files got an average rating of 4.5/5 from 113 users. TechRadar listed M-Files second in their "Best Document Management Software of 2018" article and FinancesOnline.com ranked M-Files #7 in their DMS category and honored them this year with their Expert Choice Award, Great User Experience Award, and Supreme Software Award. One thing we noted though was that while many reviews were really good, there was a consistency among the negative reviews about frustration with customer support.

Overall, given their experience with legal firms, an innovative and secure technology, and mostly positive industry feedback, M-Files appears to have a solid offering.

To learn about our selections of the best DMS in other categories, read "Best Document Management Software/Systems for Small Business 2018."

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Editor's Note: Looking for Document Management Systems for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

Editorial Disclosure: Inc. writes about products and services in this and other articles. These articles are editorially independent - that means editors and reporters research and write on these products free of any influence of any marketing or sales departments. In other words, no one is telling our reporters or editors what to write or to include any particular positive or negative information about these products or services in the article. The article's content is entirely at the discretion of the reporter and editor. You will notice, however, that sometimes we include links to these products and services in the articles. When readers click on these links, and buy these products or services, Inc may be compensated. This e-commerce based advertising model - like every other ad on our article pages - has no impact on our editorial coverage. Reporters and editors don't add those links, nor will they manage them. This advertising model, like others you see on Inc, supports the independent journalism you find on this site.