In many law firms, every day there are hundreds of copies made, forms filled out, and client documents printed. The amount of paper used in a big law firm can exceed several reams per day. The cost of paper adds up and can be a large expense for a law firm with many clients and documents circulating each day. While many offices around the globe are converting to a paperless operation, law firms should follow suit and make the transition. It is not only good for the environment in the long run, but it is even better for the security of the firm’s data and the bottom line.
Benefits of a Paperless Office
- Maintaining Security and Confidentiality
- File cabinets, desks, copy rooms – all places where documents can be accessed by people who should not have that access. Cloud-based storage programs can keep sensitive documents behind a password so only specific people can view them.
- Ease of Access
- This benefits both the clients and the attorneys. Allowing clients to easily access their court documents or filings can create a seamless process for them and their attorney when moving a case forward. Also, storing files digitally allows collaboration on behalf of the firm if multiple people need access to a document at one time.
- Environmental Benefits
- From Paperless Productivity, “The beauty of going paperless is that it not only saves the environment but it also saves companies a lot of money” Going paperless also reduces CO2 emissions and decreases the rate of deforestation.
- Digital Copies and Data
- As mentioned before, file cabinets or employee desks can be security soft spots leaving documents vulnerable to prying eyes. If your firm commits to going digital, everything will be backed up digitally to the cloud, making it less likely client data or information will be lost or stolen. Also, when onboarding new employees, digital copies can be kept of their contracts or employment information without the hassle of storing a physical copy.
- Some items that you’ll no longer have to purchase regularly in a paperless office: printer ink, toner, bulk paper, new copy machines, and file cabinets, just to name a few. The money you save can be put towards other expenses, like marketing or workforce development.
- Productivity is key in maintaining a successful and efficient office. If an employee is spending several hours per week printing or struggling with the copy machine, those are not productive work hours. If your firm converts to paperless, those hours wasted fiddling over a printer could be dedicated instead to helping clients or conducting legal research, bolstering the bottom line.
Making the Transition
Obviously, the transition to a paperless law firm will not happen overnight. It will take planning and consideration by firm management and employees. And, once initiated, will take some adjustments and change of habits for everyone.
Given the cost-savings, environmental benefits, and security it provides for offices everywhere, law firms should consider immediately making the switch to paperless in 2021.
For resources regarding paperless law firms or offices, visit the WorldWideOCR “Helpful Links” page to get started.