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The Less-Paper Office

How Your Office Can Use Less Paper And Be More Productive

No office can be truly paperless, but ITS offers solutions to reduce the clutter. While an office without paper is probably not a reality for most lawyers, there are options that will reduce the amount of paper you use while increasing your and your firm's efficiency.

Paperless Law OfficeWhy go electronic? There are many reasons. Your computer generally comes with the basic software needed to review these files, so you are already setup to do this. In addition, when you need to review the file, if you only print and highlight the truly relevant documents, it will be much easier to find these documents instead of having to fumble your way through reams of paper. Thus, I recommend doing an initial review of the documents on your computer and printing only the pages that may be necessary.

Suppose, however, the matter involves litigation. Pleadings, discovery, motions, pretrial documents, etc. For my nickel, every document should be scanned and OCRed (optical character recognition). This process not only renders the documents searchable, it generally also allows you to copy portions for use when preparing other documents. As a bonus, if you misplace a document (which of course will never happen), there is a copy readily available. In addition, when you file a motion, you can easily produce a CD rather than a case of paper, and at far less expense. Moreover, if your case is in federal court (or one of the more progressive state courts), you will have to file your papers electronically, so you are far more prepared to do so.

One of the most important reasons to scan litigation documents is the ability you should have to OCR each one simultaneously. With software such as Adobe and a little effort, you will be able to search virtually all of your documents in one pass, and finding that needle in the paperstack will be far easier. Although most software can OCR handwritten documents, the results vary based upon the legibility of the writing and sophistication of the software.

Jumping ahead, your case has now concluded. At that point, any closing documents, settlement sheets, releases, etc., should have been scanned to your computer. Then what? When you close the file, if you have saved copies of the pleadings, etc. on your computer, you can burn a CD, store it with the files on it, and dispose of the documents. You will require far less physical storage space and, should the need arise, you can quickly retrieve the documents from your computer (or an archive) or directly from the CD you stored with the file.

It is unlikely that most law offices — or most businesses — will ever have a truly paperless office. Instead, many can and should have an office with less paper. If implemented correctly, a proper backup solution provides insurance against a hard drive crash and, more importantly, gives you the peace of mind to know that, when and if you go paperless, everything you need is just a moment away.

For more information about ITS and its Less-Paper solutions, call (610) 446-3467 or click here to send an email.



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