Humankind is becoming more and more aware of the effect of their actions on the environment. Individuals and institutions alike are becoming more mindful of their actions and how they affect the environment. From adapting reusable energy sources to sustainable raw materials, businesses are taking steps to be more environmentally friendly.
One way to be more sustainable is to go paperless. Paperless billings and paperless subscriptions aim to reduce the dependency on paper and help reduce waste. Reducing the use of paper does not only reduce wastes but also helps save trees and water.
Is It Possible For Law Firms To Go Paperless?
Although you might think lawyers can’t ditch the papers, law firms can go paperless. Relying on papers and boxes and boxes of documents is outdated. Relying on paper for your operations can lead to disorganization and stress. Stacks of paperwork can overwhelm anyone and can add to the stress of your employees.
In fact, the US federal courts are already going paperless in their campaign to save on building space and rent. For instance, the move to reduce their dependency on paper has allowed the Chicago courts to save millions of dollars. A 2009 study done in Manatee Country, Florida, also found that e-filing documents saved them nearly $1 million in a year.
So yes, law firms can adopt a paperless system. While it may not be easy, it is not impossible.
Why You Should Consider Going Paperless
Going paperless has many benefits. It does not only benefit the environment, but it also benefits your business, your employees, and your clients.
It saves time
Searching for certain files will not be as difficult when you go digital. Your e-documents will all be filed in searchable folders and databases. You can search for the files you need with a few taps on your keyboard. It is definitely more convenient than having to search for a single document through hundreds of files.
It is more cost-efficient
When you go paperless, your firm won’t have to spend on thousands of sheets of paper. You also get to save on filing and labeling systems. Imagine if a typical office worker uses around 2 cases of paper every year. Add to that the printing, copying, distribution, and storage costs, and you can see why going paperless is much more cost-efficient.
It gives your clients a better customer experience
Time is a precious commodity. Letting your clients wait while you look for an important document that you have misplaced can make you look incompetent and disorganized. Going digital and paperless can improve your service and allow you to have easy and quick access to your client’s file whenever and wherever you need it.
It is more secure
It is easy to misplace and lose folders of important files and documents. Anyone in your law firm office can also go to your file storage and check your files. This can lead to the theft of critical information about your clients. When you have your files stored digitally, you can set up access restrictions, depending on the user. You can require user credentials to access critical files of your clients.
Your employees can be more efficient
When you store your files digitally, your employees can work more efficiently. They can access client files, wherever they are, whenever they need them.
Steps To Create A Paperless Law Office
As mentioned earlier, it’s not easy, but it is possible. Here are the steps that you can take to transition your law office into a paperless one.
You will need to invest in certain tools to make your transition to a paperless system easier and smoother. A document scanner can help you convert your existing paper documents into e-documents. A mobile scanner app is also necessary for scanning documents outside of the office.
To sign and work with your e-documents, you will need additional software such as Adobe Acrobat and Nitro PDF. A cloud-based data storage and management system can help you store your data securely while letting you access them wherever you are. Back-up storage, such as an extra computer desktop or an external hard drive, should be used as your remote back-up in case of unforeseen incidents.
Improve your process and workflow
Going paperless takes more than buying the technology. You must establish a process workflow that is not only efficient but will also protect sensitive client information.
First, identify which documents should be scanned and which can safely go to the shredder. If it’s too much for you, you can keep some of your documents in boxes and label them with the date that they can be shredded.
The next thing that you must do is address data security threats. You can hire an expert in data security to help you establish your data security protocols and measures.
Establish data management and file structure
You must need to establish how you will store and manage your e-documents. How will you organize your files? Will it be by date, by client, or by matter? A consistent file naming structure must also be established to make file management easier.
Whether you plan to go completely paperless or take it in strides, eliminating paper dependency can make your team more efficient. The first few steps may be hard, but with the right plan and mindset, you will eventually be able to migrate to a fully digital and paperless office.