Dropbox and the Paperless Office on Steroids

Have you ever been at court or a critical meeting and wished you had a document with you that was still tucked away at your office?

Here’s a tip that will ensure you always have every document in your client file handy, wherever you are.  Copy your entire client folder to Dropbox (or Google Drive) the day before any court appearance or other major event.  Your client folder will then be available to you remotely, via the Cloud, if you need to check any documents that you left behind.

Dropbox and Google Drive are free online services that allow you to copy your files and folders to the Cloud, where they are stored securely. They can then be retrieved from any computer or mobile device anywhere, as long as you are online.

These services can function as the perfect complement to your paperless office.   If you scan it, you can retrieve it – from anywhere.

When Dropbox is installed, it adds a designated folder to your desktop.   You can drag and copy your files to your Dropbox folder, the same way you would transfer files between any Windows folders. The copied files are then automatically and seamlessly uploaded to the Cloud.  Google Drive functions similarly.

If you’ve been looking for yet another good reason to go paperless, these services provide it.  Combined with an iPad or iPhone, these services can help your practice function like a paperless office on steroids!

When choosing between services, storage capacity limits are an increasing point of difference.  The basic Dropbox plan offers 2 gigabytes of free storage.  Google Drive has just upped its free storage (shared with your Gmail account) to 15 gigabytes.

So today’s tip is a straightforward one – get an account at one of these services.  Make it part of your office’s preparation protocol to upload your entire client folder the day before an event. At my office, our law clerk usually handles this function.  One quick click (or drag) and it’s done.

And voila!  You need never be without a key document at a crucial time again.

You may also conclude, as I have, that carrying a Dropbox-ready iPad is a far more pleasant experience than lugging around bankers’ boxes filled with documents you probably won’t need the next day – but you’ve brought them just in case

So there you have today’s tip.  Dropbox it.

It’s good for the trees.  And it’s pretty good for the back too.

– Garry J. Wise, Toronto


  1. Now for the Court to catch on…!

  2. I love dropbox. And for the people still worried about security, I suggest Boxcryptor. Encrypt your files on your local computer before they are sent to the cloud. You hold the only key so even if someone does get your files they can’t read them. Be forewarned though, makes sure you don’t lose your password. Boxcrypter does not keep any sign-on info to retrieve your encryption key should you need it. Works with any computer, tablet (with the exception of Kindle) and phone. You download the encryption program and boxcryptor folder. I put mine in dropbox. I have it on my PCs, my Macs and my android phones.

  3. David Collier-Brown

    Google drive allows multiple people to update a document or spreadsheet, so if what you really need is data from a colleague who’s back in the office, you can have them add that data to a shared document.

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