Paperless initiatives gives law offices competitive advantage

March 27th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document and Information Capture | Document Management | Information Management | Workflow

Document management can prove especially challenging for law offices, which require the handling of overwhelming volumes of records and demand rigid organization to ensure efficiency. Furthermore, lawyers need to have quick access to files to ensure clients' needs are adequately met and in a timely manner. As law offices look to gain greater control over information, paperless solutions can allow these firms to ensure more accurate, timely case processing and resolution.

In an interview with The Lawyer, William Robins, chief operating officer at Keystone Law, explained that electronic document management has played a critical role in enabling offices to re-focus on meeting clients' needs and expectations. He explained that by improving service quality, businesses can gain a competitive edge. This especially holds true for larger firms where teamwork is required.

Paperless fuels productivity
Vivien Eaden, IT director for Blake Lapthorn, told The Lawyer that effective document management provides law firms with easier collaboration because employees are able to find the information they need quicker and easier. Additionally, she explained that electronic solutions support flexible working initiatives while decreasing paper waste and ensuring compliance. She explained that collaboration and compliance are two major challenges for businesses with a geographically distributed staff and poor data management practices- and that their struggles will increase with time if adequate technologies are not introduced.

"Without a system that imposes rigor around structure, naming conventions and metadata it's difficult to contain behavior that leads to islands of information and chaos," Eaden told The Lawyer. "Trying to impose structure on that chaos further down the track is a headache, so it's important for small firms to identify the problem and deal with it early."

Angela Cairns, DMS manager for Marks & Clerk told the source that she has witnessed a rise in client and partner demands for electronic communications. She predicted that document imaging and electronic workflow solutions will become increasingly critical.

Hartford Magazine reported that the average U.S. office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. The source reported that the FreedMcKeen law office, however, manages the majority of documentation in PDF format, which has provided considerable advantages. Attorney Kristen Marcroft told the magazine that going paperless has fueled greater efficiency and lowered overhead due to a reduced need for resources and time spent managing paper records. Marcroft also noted that the paperless solution has enabled her to work more effectively with colleagues from anywhere and at anytime.

By keeping up with the latest document management technologies, businesses can ensure that client demands are not only met, but exceeded, due to greater organization and collaboration.

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