A huge pain point for many attorneys is gathering documents that are needed to handle the matter.
I’m talking about gathering them from:
- New clients (generally)
- Clients in litigation who are required to gather documents for a discovery request
- Co-counsel – various scenarios
- Opposing counsel – ditto
- Third parties – ditto
If it’s just a few documents you need you can ask them to be sent by email as an attachment. This is an easy way, but there’s still a big problem we’ll get to in a second.
If it’s a lot of documents you can use an online document sharing portal, which is harder. But even if you get this properly set up there’s still the big problem.
You Need to Follow Up
- What happens when the person doesn’t send the documents?
- Or what if they only send some, but not all?
- Or what if they need constant reminding to send the documents?
These are real, common problems. And they’re frustrating problems because the document gathering is usual vital.
And the need to gather the documents in a timely fashion is usually vital also.
So, what’s a poor lawyer or law firm staff member to do?
A Better Solution
Use an online document gathering service that has a good notification system to nudge people to give you the documents you need in a timely way.
Recently, I was made aware of such a service that’s being used by lawyers who seem exceptionally pleased with the results.
For example, here’s what an attorney in my Co-Pilot coaching program wrote (in a Slack channel) about a new service called Pipefile:
It’s software that has a single purpose, which is to collect documents from clients. It’s not a client portal. It’s not a place to store documents. It’s just for collecting documents that attorneys need to get from clients.
It sends automated reminders to clients. And you can customize the emails, which is great for me when I need to send emails to clients in French. I have been using it for the past 3 weeks, and find it to be very powerful. The biggest indication that it’s incredibly useful is that I would not go back to gathering documents the way I was doing it before.
There’s no way I’ll revert back to sending emails manually to clients with a checklist. I think other attorneys might benefit from it. The learning curve is very small.
And their support has been useful. The answered my emails the same day, when I had questions.
If a client doesn’t provide documents with me using this service, they probably won’t provide them even if I bug them everyday.
Pipefile Might Be Worthwhile
The attorney I just quoted obviously gave Pipefile a strong endorsement. So I decided to try it out myself.
The first thing I appreciated was that to use the 14-day free trial you don’t even have to give them a credit card.
So you don’t have to worry that you’ll automatically get dinged for a monthly paid subscription, unless you want to sign up. If you do want to sign up, you’ll have to affirmatively enter your credit card information to continue using the service after the 14 day free trial.
What it’s like to use Pipefile
If you want to see what the Pipefile sign up process looks like, here’s my step-by-step walkthrough.
And here’s what the process of creating a document request in Pipefile looks like.
As I often say, the best way to find out if some tech thing is worth using is to use it. There is no risk to trying out Pipefile, and a lot of potential benefit if you find it helps you gather documents (not just from clients, by the way).
So, if Pipefile seems like it might be useful to you check it out.
P.S. If you want a better practice, check out this Ultimate Guide.