Metadata in Legal Document Management System

Metadata powered DMS. Secure collaboration for Lawyers to access contents from anywhere and anytime

Written by Knowledge Team, posted on July 11, 2020

Legal Research, E-Discovery, Review and Ethics. Why Metadata matters for Lawyers. Technology and best practices for modern law firm

Why Metadata is important

Metdata management for lawyers
Law firms are great in creating contents and when it comes to managing them in their organization, they have tough time. Reason being, information about the data created and stored in the law firm over years is not available easily. Extending the document usability and purging the contents (with deletion proof) beyond retention timeline are important. Details about the data, aka Metadata is useful to effectively identify the documents for legal research, search the precedence or implementing content compliance

What is Metadata

Metadata for law firms
Properties, attributes or simply additional data about the data can be called as Metadata. Metadata must allow contents to be classified and categorized; it must define the Documents. Metadata must be part of the document and normally hidden during display of documents. System Metadata can be tagged to the document automatically by the DMS during document create or edit steps. User defined Metadata will be input by content authors and editors. At any time, metadata created must support the legal business process, either on firm or practice area level

Examples of Metadata in legal documents

Why Metadata matters for Legal Case Documents

Compliance GDPR supported metadata
Apart from playing an important role in search for aiding in legal research, Metadata is an invaluable tool for lawyers and knowledge managers. Efficient methodology, can extend the longevity of data, and being compliant at the same time

Metadata Management in Law Firms

Metadata management in legal document management solution
Metadata must be managed throughout the Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) process. Policies must be put in place on how metadata is created, managed, modified and deleted from the documents. Beyond the regulatory requirements it must be part of firms best practice to manage their contents and associated Metadata.
Metadata is also discoverable content when the firm is under subpoena. Even though metadata is harmless in most scenarios additional precaution must taken if it contains privilege or confidential information. For example, a document subject through approval process might contain approver comments which might have reference to classified product information or comments not meeting the company standards.
Most word processing solution allow users to turn off the comments display and this introduces additional risk. Document which have the review functionality hidden might still contain the internal review comments and these documents can be sent inadvertently outside.
Law firms must be careful in sending documents without sanitizing metadata, as they might disclose the client information to outside parties. Firms must implement technology and process to protect themselves in managing the metadata, when transmitting the contents electronically

Metadata Scrubbing

Email is the common way documents are shared electronically. Law firms must invest in technology solution and process (user training and monitoring) to remove documents’ metadata before electronic transmission. There are two types of solutions to protect confidential information disguised as metadata.

Ethical Obligations in Metadata Management

Scrubbing metadata is required before documents are sent electronically to protect client privilege or confidential information. Law firm also have ethical obligation to preserve the evidence and not remove certain metadata. Guidelines must be implemented to support the discovery and delivery of metadata during the discovery process

PageLightPrime for Metadata Management

Search, identify and legal research on case documents
Legal Document Management Solution from PageLightPrime allows Law Firms to collaborate securely with internal and external users through Client Portal. Users can access DMS from Outlook through Legal DMS Outlook Integration. Metadata and hidden information can be removed based on outgoing email recipients. Single click can remove review comments, speaker notes, metadata, and revisions. All outgoing word files can be converted to locked PDF files. PageLightPrime provides corporate legal department and law offices complete DMS on Microsoft 365
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