How do law firms go digital in a smart way?
A law firm benchmark study we did earlier this year showed that “going paperless” is something law firms are trying to come to terms with — 28% said they wanted to be “paperless” within five years. See our infographic to the left. But just how do you get there, what paper do you digitize and how?
At ILTA this year two large law firms shared their approach. One CIO went for it and scanned all of their onsite active files, and had started on their legacy offsite files. They are making the investment to just do it. Another firm plans to scan active files as phase one – primarily to free up space and rent now taken up by onsite records operations and case rooms. Their CIO has put a stake in the ground – get the paper all offsite and start by digitizing what lawyers really need access to now. Phase two may involve some destruction and some additional scanning.
Other firms have started scanning everything new that comes into the mailroom. While others have their offsite provider scan boxes every time they are retrieved, and image key documents on demand as needed. And we all know there is that militia of decentralized scanners in every firm, dedicated to scanning in unseen bunkers, without a nod to indexing, retention schedules or the official repository.
What law firms with the itch to “go digital” really need is a plan. And the plan needs to be enterprise-wide, show an ROI in terms of lower paper storage costs, faster access to digital documents for mobile attorneys, risk mitigation, and real estate and personnel cost savings over a reasonable amount of time. There is no one size fits all approach. We have found that firms want a thoughtful partner who takes the time to understand their culture, workflows and investment tolerance, and customizes a solution for that firm to Go Digital Smart.