There are many reasons as to why the ‘paperless’ office has become popular. Organisation and time-efficiency are two of the main reasons. A paperless law office means less clutter and more storing of files from who-knows-what-decade. It also makes arranging files that much easier.
Another benefit of having a paperless office is security. Virtual files are easily encrypted, which protects them from being read by anyone unauthorised. They can also be ‘backed-up’ in case something happens to your network or server.
Over the last decade, more and more law firms have welcomed the innovation of the internet and computer-based programs. With project management software in hand, law firms have found it easier to arrange, acknowledge and manage files that come into their offices. And through the help of a computer and scanner, all documents can be easily taken care of in a shorter amount of time than if it were in paper format. By simply scanning the document, utilising Microsoft Word or Acrobat and adding it to its proper folder, you’ll have fewer documents scattered about and more space on your table for other matters.
How to go paperless? Here are some steps:
1. Come up with a paperless plan.
2. Get familiar with certain programs like Microsoft Word, Acrobat and other similar programs. Make sure that all of your personnel are familiar with these programs.
3. Get a scanner. A scanner is crucial to convert actual files to virtual files. Make sure that you have a scanner that is capable of scanning a variety of documents (legal size files, pictures, etc.).
4. Convert all documents to digital. This will not only lower professional printing costs, it will also help you locate files easier.
5. Get an ideal project management system specifically designed for law firms. Make sure that you learn all there is to know about the software before you make a purchase. All necessary features need to be included in the software to make the conversion smoother. For instance, mail that is scanned into your system needs to be segregated by importance. Set up alerts for new activities so that you’ll be able to know what folders have been updated. If you need any advice on what project management system would suit your law firm best, please contact us at LegalTech.
6. Prepare yourself with digital signature stamps. This will help you attach your signature much easier to digital documents.
7. Configure remote access. It is important to configure remote access so that authorised persons will be able to access the files no matter where they are located. Ensure that this is included in the features of your document management system.
About the Author: James Vickery is the founder and CEO of I Know IT, a transformative IT services provider. James connects law leaders to their strategy through technology with a firm belief that lawyers must re-enter their profession as innovators, thinking and acting as technology companies do in order to survive, compete and prosper in a digital economy.
James enables this new way of thinking and executing through consulting, coaching and delivery of technology solutions to Australian and international organisations. More from this author.