The Paperless Law Office [Guest Post]
We thank the Lawyerist.com team for this guest post.
Though many law firms are still considering going paperless, the idea is nothing new to the legal field. Federal and state courts and law firms have been going paperless for years. If you are considering moving to a paperless law office, know that while it’s no longer cutting edge, it is something you should do to increase efficiency, productivity, and improve your clients’ experience.
The Benefits of Going Paperless
In addition to the above-mentioned benefits and reducing paper waste, going paperless offers your law office these perks:
- Increased mobility. Paperless law firms have the ability to be fully mobile. This means you can access all of your important documents at your home office, the courthouse, or wherever your work takes you.
- Improved storage. There is no need for boxes and boxes of paper files any longer. Although some things will need to be saved, the future lies in electronic filing systems that are stored in one place and backed up.
- Secure backups. When disasters occur, data loss is always a concern. With an electronic system, all your data can be (and must be) backed up, making it easier to recover.
What You Need to Create a Paperless Law Office
If you’re ready to get started, there are a few tools your firm will need, starting with the right equipment, reliable software, and a secure backup.
The Right Equipment
The technology behind your paperless office is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. To go paperless, you will want to have:
- A document scanner.
- A larger or second monitor for viewing two pages or documents at the same time.
- A convertible laptop or tablet for reading and sending documents.
- A shredder, or a shredding service.
These will get you started. You can also implement various other tools and equipment to suit your specific office needs or to assist you as you expand your paperless operations.
You will have a large number of online files to manage. To do this well, you will want to have a cloud storage option, such as Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive, that will allow you to access your files from any device and share with others in your firm.
You will also want to download a PDF viewer and editor such as Adobe Acrobat Reader for easy managing of your PDF documents. Or get the full version of Adobe Acrobat so you can edit PDF documents.
Finally, you should use encryption software to protect the files on your computer. Some options include BitLocker (included with Windows 10 Pro) and FileVault (included with MacOS).
To protect your client files and other sensitive data, use a secure backup system. Use secure online backup like Carbonite or BackBlaze as your primary backup. You may also want to invest in an external hard drive as a backup to your backup.
Go Paperless to Enhance Your Firm Success
Is going paperless part of your law firm’s strategy for the future? It should be. Your firm’s productivity is important for your future success—going paperless can give you the boost you need. To learn more about how your firm can grow and reach its goals, take the Lawyerist Small Firm Scorecard™ today.