Going Paperless

In my April newsletter, I wrote about scanners and their importance to planning a paperless office.  I also mentioned PCLaw’s basic document management system.  Last month, I provided an extensive review about backups and mirrored (raid) servers.  Now, I want to suggest consideration be given to receiving input from everyone at your firm during the initial planning stage of going paperless.

Everyone from your receptionist to the legal assistants and from the law clerks to the lawyers will have a different point of view concerning the transition to paperless.  Gaining everyone’s input will probably become one of the most valuable parts of the planning process for two reasons.  First, there will be ideas come up that you may not have thought about.  Secondly, the sharing of ideas helps everyone feel like they are a part of the process.  Plus, having everyone “buy-in” to the process from the beginning is paramount to a successful transition.

When you are ready to consider document management software products, you will probably want to search for companies that are involved with the legal industry.  Finding software that recognizes the needs of law firms, while being easy to use and understand can also help make the transition less intimidating.  While some individuals enjoy change, others will be uncomfortable with the change.  Sometimes, a software demo showing the new process will help everyone become more interested in the transition to paperless.

One of the most intuitive document management software I reviewed at the ABA Conference was being offered by Cabinet NG.  This software was easy to understand because it followed the same flow as your paper storage with cabinets, folders and files.  A virtual centralized “file room” had security managing who would have access to what information.  Their controlled processes have been shown to increase productivity.  I’m not surprised by that statement as I could see the time-saving benefits it offered with the brief demo I observed.  This software also provides standardized tabs and document templates to make the creation and retrieval of documents more efficient.  Plus, there are user-defined fields to manage specific information relevant to your “cases” (files).

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