At ABA TECHSHOW 2012, Dave Bilinsky presented with Russell Alexander, an Ontario family law lawyer who has a multiple-office, paperless practice, on: “Managing the Transition to Paperless”. Accordingly this post is the first of two based on that presentation dealing with the management side of taking your office paperless.
How do you build your plan to take yourself paperless? Here are the first 5 things to consider:
- Commit to going paperless. Call your staff to a meeting and explain the advantages for each of them individually, and as a group. Fully involve them in the process and invite them to raise their concerns now while you are at a planning stage. Ask for their support and commitment to a successful transition.
- Check your existing computer hardware including your server and back up and RAID systems to make sure it can handle all paperless applications (hardware and software requirements). Make sure you have a reliable backup back-up system (including storage off-site).
- Analyze your needs – now and in the future. Think about what you’re likely to need in the future as your business grows as well as your current needs. Think about which documents need to be accessed often or quickly, which need extra security, and which could be weeded out after a certain time. After all you don’t want to be storing all documents forever but you do have requirements for document storage and retention from your ethics regulator or insurer (or both).
- Develop a transition plan and a timetable. The timetable should be tight enough to keep everyone on line but not so much so that it doesn’t allow for reasonable adjustments and setbacks. Plan to be flexible!
- Start small. Use a single lawyer and legal assistant to start. Learn from the pilot project so you can address any problems before broadening your scope. It is easy to correct small things at the pilot stage before they become much bigger things in a firm-wide rollout.