This is a New Year…the time to resolve to (finally) go paperless.
What are some of the benefits that can be achieved by moving to a paperless document office?
Cut Your Storage Costs
Paper takes up space. Paper legal files take up lots of space. Space is expensive. Cut out the need to store paper and you have cut your costs. Especially if you are simply storing closed files for regulatory and insurance requirements.
Moving to creating, filing, searching and storing legal files in a digital form means cutting your costs to simply store all that information in paper form.
Save Costs on Retrieval
According to Sisco (http://www.gosisco.com/costofpullingpaper.shtm ), if it takes a well-trained employee 6 minutes to pull a file, and if this employee does this just 10 times per day, they have spent an hour of their time on document retrieval. If this employee costs $15 per hour, (including SS and benefits) you are spending $15 per day on document retrieval.
Multiply that by the 260 working days in a year and you arrive at an unrecognized cost of $3,900 per year. This is for just one employee pulling 10 files a day.
If finding a document electronically takes less than a minute, you can see the cost savings that you can achieve in just file retrieval tasks. For example, if your document management system stores each unique document number in each document as a footer, then just searching on that document number allows you to find a document very effectively and efficiently on the network.
If your document management system continually indexes all words found in a document (which may involve optical recognizing all scanned documents brought into the system) then you can search by keywords to find documents on the network. Full text search is not possible in paper files.
Document Management Systems record metadata when storing a document. That metadata – author, file number or name, type of document (pleading, letter, contract) etc is another way to find a document in a paperless system. You can also search by other criteria – such as all documents created in the last 7 days – or documents created by author – to find a document on the network.
Reduced Costs of Document Distribution
Once a document is in electronic form, it can be distributed to others quickly, easily and cheaply. Paper document distribution involves physical costs that increase with the number of recipients, the distances involved and the size of the documents. This is typically not the case with electronic documents.
Security over Documents
A paper document must be physically controlled to secure distribution. Not so with electronic documents. Most document management systems allow the user to select who can see, modify, delete and distribute electronic documents. You can also track or log who sees any particular document. Since you can control who can delete documents, you can prevent documents from being ‘lost’.
Provided that you have a secure off-site location for storage of your electronic documents, you can achieve greater resiliency to disasters as compared to paper documents. It is also easier to store your closed files electronically rather than facing the costs of paying for paper documents to sit somewhere until you can safely destroy them.
Better Client Response Times
Having all your files and information available by mouse-click means that you can respond to client inquiries quickly, accurately and achieve a greater client – satisfaction score.
Having documents available on the network may translate to a greater amount of information or knowledge sharing within the firm, since documents can be found by others rather than being stuffed away in paper files that sit on a shelf somewhere.
Those are just a few of the tangible and intangible benefits of moving to a digital paperless practice. Resolve now to make it a goal to implement a paperless practice this year and start to achieve these benefits – now.