I was introduced to MetaJure today, and it’s the first document management system I think is worth serious consideration by small firms.

Most firms start thinking about the need to centralize document management when they get to three or four people. Well-managed documents make it easy to find examples, templates, and that email you know someone sent to opposing counsel three months ago.

Traditionally, to take advantage of document-management software you would have to migrate all your firm’s documents on all the computers, servers, etc., to your document management system, train everyone how to use it, and count on everyone to actually use it properly. MetaJure does it backwards.

With MetaJure, you don’t have to do anything but install the MetaJure agent on all your firm’s computers. It scans each computer (except for any folders you tell it to ignore) for documents, copies them to MetaJure’s secure server, OCRs and indexes all of them, and makes them available to everyone in your firm (except for anyone you don’t want to share with). When you need something, just search like you would with Google. Want to see all the NDAs your firm has drafted? Just type in NDA or non-disclosure agreement and they’ll all pop right up.

You don’t have to worry about saving documents to MetaJure. It takes care of all that. And you don’t have to worry about getting locked into a proprietary system. MetaJure leaves all your documents right where they were. Worried about getting buy-in from all the stubborn lawyers who have their own system and they don’t want to change? No worries. Everyone at your firm can keep on using whatever personalized file structure makes sense to them, but MetaJure will collect everything, centralize it, and index it.

It’s beautiful, actually.

However, MetaJure could use better cloud integration. Currently, it depends on your documents winding up on a computer that can run it’s agent. That’s fine for Outlook, Dropbox, and Box, since your email and files are synced to your computer, but if you want to use it with Gmail, Google Docs, iCloud, or Clio, it is inelegant. There are workarounds, but I hope MetaJure will plan to plug directly into cloud-based services so that it captures everything no matter what you use.

Also, the pricing is reasonable but regressive. MetaJure starts at $45/user/month for firms of at least 5 lawyers, and drops to $25/user/month for firms with more than 200 users. It doesn’t seem fair that small firms have to pay nearly twice as much as large ones, even if this sort of regressive pricing is common.

Even with those caveats, I am impressed. MetaJure let’s you take advantage of centralized document management with very little effort and zero disruption to your workflow. No other document management software that I’ve seen is so easy to implement or so effortlessly useful.