A paperless law office offers reduced costs, increased collaboration and higher levels of security, but to make the switch firms should execute a three-part plan.
Part 1: Planning
Planning the transition sets the foundation for how the change will be implemented and puts the entire firm on the same page. It also sets clear expectations about what the process will look like and the work that will be involved.
- Build a roadmap of the process
- Create a realistic timeline
- Buy the right equipment (scanners, shredders, etc.)
- Start using e-faxes
- Request digital rather than paper files
Part 2: Electronic Workflow
After you’ve laid out an overview of the project, you can then evaluate what processes will need to be changed to accommodate a paperless office.
- Figure out a folder structure and filenames
- Store documents as PDFs (rather than file types such as Word or Excel)
- Export emails as PDFs
- Consider cloud storage for documents
- Create a back-up plan
- Digitize time-tracking
Part 3: Physical Workflow
Now that you know what needs to be done, you need to figure out how to do it. Commitment to the new processes by staff will be critical for the switch to work.
- Implement a “scan first” policy where no document is touched before its scanned
- Shred everything aside from originals required for compliance
- Set up new document notifications to keep everyone updated
- Figure out a case closing procedure
This is a big-picture view of what it takes to go paperless, but following these steps can give you an idea of what it will take to create and maintain a paperless strategy.