The 5 Keys to Creating a Paperless Law Office

Monday, March 31, 2014
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As a practicing lawyer, I’m always looking for ways to simplify my office life so I can focus on my work instead of managing the elements surrounding it. One of the biggest pain-points of working in the legal field is how reliant everyone is on paper. That said, one of my goals has been to move away from paper in meaningful ways and simultaneously encourage, and help, others do the same. That’s why I started PaperlessChase and added the tagline: “Practice law, not paper pushing.”

Recently, I’ve been putting on webinars where others in the legal profession are invited to listen to the steps I’ve taken in the direction of the paperless law office. For those that are interested but haven’t participated in a similar gathering, I’ve put together “How to Create a Paperless Law Office: 5 Keys to Getting Started,” with the hope of giving you a framework to start with.

1. Improve your email handling skills:

Improving how you handle digital information is crucial, especially with email. We all struggle with email, given its exponential growth and pervasive use in everyday communication.

Action Step: Watch our video on Email Efficiency, and keep improving. Consider hiring a legal technology trainer (click here to learn more).

2. Switch to digital faxing:

Sign up for a digital fax service (~$10/month) and you’ll start getting incoming faxes delivered to your email inbox wherever you have access to email (e.g. your iPhone or iPad).

Sending faxes is as simple as attaching the document to an email and sending it to the digital fax service you opt for. There are many affordable digital fax services to choose from.

Action Step: Check FaxCompare.com, or Google “web-based fax” to find a service that appeals to you, and then transfer your old fax number to the new service. And, if you aren’t sure how to set it up, ask your technology consultant for help.

3. Improve your PDF handling skills:

Lawyers who practice in federal court, or in those states that have e-filing, are discovering that they have to learn how to create PDFs and manipulate them in basic ways.

Action Step: Read PDFforLawyers.com, a site that highlights PDF skills that legal professionals commonly use, and get the free email newsletter: pdfforlawyers.com/subscribe.

Bonus Action Step: Check out the ABA publication: Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers (click here to learn more about how it can help lawyers and their staff use PDFs better).

4. Update your client engagement letter:

Update your client engagement letter to clarify how you will be handling client’s files as you move into a more digital practice.

Action step: Click here to download a Microsoft Word document that contains the key provisions that legal ehtics expert Dane Ciolino uses in his engagement letters.

5. Get the right law office scanner:

Getting the right scanner – and avoiding sub-optimal scanners – is crucial. There is one clear choice for lawyers and their staff.

Action Step: Read why the ScanSnap iX500 scanner is the best scanner for law offices, and do not make the disastrous mistake of getting the wrong kind of scanner.

Ernie Svenson
ScanSnap Squad, Legal Expert

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