Proper document management helps legal firms embrace digital transformation by limiting their carbon footprint.

It also boosts information security, automates legal workflows, and increases the efficiency of file and email management.

That’s why you need a digital solution that can handle every stage of legal document management without increasing your firm’s workload or endangering the security of files.

Let’s talk about the best document management systems for law firms, focusing on what makes them great and how they can improve productivity and information security.

Key takeaways

  • Legal document management systems make it possible for law firms to store files and organize their workflows efficiently.
  • Law firms and corporate entities looking to embrace digital transformation can start their journey to a paperless office with the help of a document management system.
  • When handling customer personal and financial data, you must use a document system that complies with GDPR, HIPAA, and other regulations.
  • Legal document management software simplifies collaborations between clients and attorneys regardless of location or technical prowess.

Legal document management involves the collection, handling, and storage of legal files, including briefs, closings, disclosures, motions, orders, exhibits, filings, and financial documents.

Following the same logic, a legal document management system (DMS) provides lawyers with features and tools for managing, editing, signing, and storing these files behind a secure digital architecture.

According to Reuters, over 90% of attorneys use at least one content management software for legal research, drafting, editing, and other related operations.

This explains why the budget for technology has increased to 30% across all firms, big, small, and medium-sized.

How does a DMS work?

To understand how a document management system works, let’s explore a sample scenario with a law firm (SoLegal) working on a contract with a client (Jane Michaels).

The SoLegal lawyer (or paralegal) logs in to the DMS using their sign-in credentials.

Then, they undergo two-factor authentication, after which they can access the dashboard and repository.

After that, the lawyer uses advanced search filters to look for templates or references in order to create a draft.

Whether working with templates or drafting from scratch, they can use the text editor and other drag-and-drop input fields to quickly generate the contract.

Once the draft is ready, they can tag reviewers to review the wording and suggest changes.

This collaborative feature removes the frustration of waiting hours to receive and process feedback.

Following internal editing, the SoLegal team can now give access to Jane Michaels to review the contract and make adjustments.

Jane can also check the version history to track all the changes made to the document.

After the back and forth, Jane can click the e-signature fields to sign the document. They can also download a copy and add it to their personal storage for safekeeping.

In some cases, the DMS comes with “click-to-pay” payment gateways like Stripe for instant invoicing and billing.

Best document management platforms

After evaluating several document management platforms for law firms, we’ve picked some platforms that fulfill every criterion for usability, quality, reliability, and security.

Here are some factors we considered:

  • Client portals for storing files
  • Advanced search for faster document retrieval
  • Document editing features (with AI assistance)
  • Easy-to-use dashboard and interface
  • Security features, including role-based access control and MFA
  • Templates for agreements, contracts, briefs, etc.
  • E-signature solutions with stamps, watermarks, logos, and other additions.
  • Integration with payment portals and other work management systems
  • Document and time tracking for monitoring updates and user activity
  • Version control for reverting changes
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Cross-platform compatibility and offline access

We’ve also excluded generic document management systems like OneDrive

Google Drive, Dropbox, Outlook, Microsoft Office, and Sharepoint.

Based on these considerations, here are the best document management platforms

1. PandaDoc


PandaDoc is a document management solution that covers the lifecycle of documents, from upload to drafting and eventually, signing and storage.

Lawyers can use the document editor to draft templates from scratch.

The freshly-minted Panda AI can also generate contextual suggestions in text blocks for drafting clauses within seconds.

You can also use PandaDoc templates for quotes, proposals, contracts, forms, invoices, and other legal documents.

The e-signature solution combines well with PandaDoc’s approval workflow. You can also store documents and track older versions using the version history.

In terms of security and compliance, PandaDoc uses AES encryption, role-based access, and other security features to protect sensitive data.

The solution is also compliant with ISO 27001, SOC 2, PCI DSS, eIDAs, and others.

PandaDoc also gives users access to the following integrations:

  • CRM — Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, Zoho, Nutshell, etc
  • Payment — Stripe, Paypal, QuickBooks, etc.
  • Design — Canva.
  • Productivity — Slack, Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, etc.
  • Storage — Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, etc.

PandaDoc pricing

  • Essentials — $35 per month/seat ($19 per month, billed annually)
  • Business — $65 per month/seat ($49 per month, billed annually)
  • Enterprise — Available on demand

2. NetDocuments


NetDocuments is a cloud-based system that helps law firms, corporate legal departments, and attorneys in the public sector to work efficiently.

This document management solution uses OCR, file search, and email management to scan and organize files. NetDocuments also protects sensitive data using ethical walls, FlexStore, and end-to-end encryption keys.

Lawyers and attorneys can use NetDocuments’s PatternBuilder to eliminate repetitive tasks and streamline legal approval workflows.

The pricing is available on demand.

3. Clio


Solo practitioners, small law firms, and large corporations can use Clio to manage legal documents, organize case files and client profiles, and simplify billing.

Clio supports case and document management through a client portal. It also serves as a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, supporting cross-company collaboration and client intake.

Available integrations include LegalMate, Docuchain, Multus Medical, Collbox, Zoom, QuickBooks, and Google Suite.

The Clio “Lawyaw” feature uses intelligent document automation to eliminate errors and handle document conversions. The Clio mobile app is also available on Google Play and the App Store.

Clio pricing

  • EasyStart — $49 per month/user ($39 per month, billed annually)
  • Essentials — $79 per month/user ($69 per month, billed annually)
  • Advanced — $119 per month/user ($99 per month, billed annually)
  • Complete — $149 per month/user ($129 per month, billed annually)

4. iManage Work

 iManage Work

Data-driven law firms can use iManage Work to work smarter, collaborate productively, and share documents securely.

This document management platform supports both on-premise and cloud hosting, which increases its versatility.

The iManage AI is a document classification algorithm that optimizes search and workflows within the legal practice.

This AI solution can analyze and extract key data points from files, thanks to unbridled access to millions of legal documents.

These data points also aid lawyers with accurate reporting and profiling, as well as drawing valuable insights from mountains of data and metadata.

To find out how much it costs, get in touch with the iManage team.

5. Smokeball

Smokeball is a case management software that helps legal professionals focus on high-value work.

This software covers multiple practice areas, including civil litigation, estate planning, criminal law, and business management.

Law firms can use Smokeball to onboard clients, giving them access to email integration and electronic signatures.

Other Smokeball features include activity tracking, document automation, and legal calendaring. It also integrates with LawPay, LawLytics, Microsoft Outlook, and

Smokeball pricing

  • Bill — $39 per month/user
  • Boost — $89 per month/user
  • Grow — $179 per month/user
  • Prosper — $219 per month/user

6. MyCase

MyCase is a cloud-based document management system for law firms and legal practitioners.

This solution allows lawyers to manage cases, communicate with clients, track activity, settle invoices, and store documents.

MyCase also has a mobile app that supports instant messaging.

Available integrations include Zapier, LawToolBox, Mailchimp, Dropbox, and Legalboards.

MyCase pricing

  • Basic— $49 per month/user ($39 per month, billed annually)
  • Pro — $79 per month/user ($69 per month, billed annually)
  • Advanced — $99 per month/user ($89 per month, billed annually)

7. Ironclad

Ironclad is a contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution that legal practitioners can use to design, manage, store, and track files.

It also has a reporting feature for tracking metrics such as document views, clicks, and downloads.

With Ironclad’s digital contracting solution, users can create enforceable agreements with the help of clickwrap tools.

You can also embed transaction details and portals to seamless payments.

Ironclad supports integrations like HubSport, Google Drive, Salesforce, and Eigen.

Law firms can bank on Ironclad AI to analyze and suggest changes to contracts.

The pricing is available on demand.

Why do you need a document management system?

Every law firm that values efficiency, security, and seamless collaboration should have a document management system. Here’s why:

Improve process efficiency and become more productive

Document management platforms automate redundant tasks and enhance the speed of operations using advanced features and drag-and-drop tools.

For example, an AI-powered DMS can provide you with a contract draft within seconds instead of spending hours creating one from scratch.

This feature makes law firms more productive, expanding their capacity to take on more clients.

You can also find information faster and scan uploaded documents using optical character recognition (OCR).

And if you receive a contract, the OCR technology can summarize the contents by extracting the vital bits of information instantly.

Make collaborations more productive

Document management tools provide a suite of functionalities that simplify collaboration internally and externally.

For instance, you can use annotation tools to markup and redline contracts, leaving a digital trail for other respondents.

Lawyers and document collaborators can use the built-in messengers or chatbots to communicate in real time without leaving the platform.

Close more deals, and happy clients

One aspect of workflow efficiency is the ability to close deals faster.

It goes back to that old saying: “The longer the client takes to finalize the deal, the chances of closing are less likely.

With the help of a document management system, you can embed payment portals, integrate other systems, and add custom signatures to help clients finalize contracts.

Comply with industry regulations

Document management solutions handle regulations and licensing as part of the functionality they provide.

Remember that payment solutions need to pass PCI DSS, and document repositories must comply with GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and other industry-specific compliance standards.

Since law firms handle all kinds of files, including healthcare and financial documents, they need a DMS compliant with industry regulations to avoid fines.

Keep sensitive data secure and private

Working with document management platforms provides your law firm with multiple layers of security.

Some security features include multi-factor authentication (MFA), access tokens, HTTPS access, data encryption, activity logs, and role-based permissions.

In May 2023, a group of cyber terrorists exploited a security loophole to attack Australia-based law firm HWL Ebsworth with ransomware — which ended in the release of 1.45 terabytes of confidential data to the dark web.

Considering that law firms handle intellectual property, financial data, and other sensitive information, security and privacy should be their primary focus.

So using a solution that passes accreditation for ISO 27001, FedRAMP, and DoD CSM is the bare minimum they can do for data privacy.

Work from anywhere

Document management platforms are online tools, which makes them easily accessible from any device with an internet connection.

This online interface makes it possible to access files from anywhere — a vital asset for lawyers working remotely.

Also, every DMS with an online interface solves all compatibility worries.

Whether you are on a Mac, Windows, or Mars rover, you can work on your files conveniently.

But you can do your law firm one better by finding a DMS that enables offline access to cached and archived files. This feature gives your team unbridled access to files from anywhere.

Reduce expenses and go paperless

The bulk of expenses at law firms comes from printing and copying.

But with a file management system, you can eliminate 60% of physical paperwork.

The first cost that a DMS can eliminate is UPS charges. That’s right! No need to send documents back and forth.

And this also ties into document storage fees. Instead of renting storage rooms and paying maintenance fees, you can channel a fraction of that money into cloud solutions and funnel the rest to core business needs.

For companies looking to embrace digital transformation, using a DMS allows you to go green without going broke.

Your options for implementing PandaDoc

The future of document management is “green” and sustainable.

That’s why law firms are using PandaDoc to automate their legal workflows and reduce their carbon footprints through paperless workflows.

You can also use PandaDoc to access and edit templates and embed input fields in legal documents.

This will lead to even faster document processing through contract intelligence as well as advanced analytics for generating better insights.

To get started with PandaDoc for your law firm, you can check out how everything works from our academy.

If you want expert guidance to understand how to implement PandaDoc for your legal practice, book a demo with us right away.

Frequently asked questions

  • Law firms should use legal document management software because it will help them collect and manage files, cases, and other documentation securely. These software solutions also come with data security features for protecting sensitive data from the wrong hands. Lawyers can also use document platforms to automate workflows and collaborate effectively with clients and team members.

  • Yes! PandaDoc is a legal practice management software that you can use to add enforceable electronic signatures, stamps, and logos to your documents. You can upload a scanned signature or use the digital canvas to sketch a new one — and start your own document repository on the platform as well.

  • Every file storage system used by a legal team should contain the following key features:

    • Client portals 
    • Advanced search filters
    • Document editing features 
    • AI-powered virtual assistant 
    • Accessible dashboard 
    • Security features 
    • Legal templates and invoices
    • E-signature solutions 
    • Payment portals 
    • CRM integrations 
    • Document tracking and version control
  • Yes, you can save templates for cases, briefs, proceedings, contracts, agreements, and other legal files on a document management platform. Some law firm document platforms contain ready-made templates, which you can edit and customize for several use cases. To find these templates faster, use advanced search filters.

  • PandaDoc is the best document management software for legal matters because it outperforms other platforms in terms of usability, scalability, compatibility, and security. Law firms can use PandaDoc, as well as its extensions and integrations, to automate tasks and improve productivity when collaborating with clients.


PandDoc is not a law firm, or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. This page is not intended to and does not provide legal advice. Should you have legal questions on the validity of e-signatures or digital signatures and the enforceability thereof, please consult with an attorney or law firm. Use of PandaDocs services are governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.