It’s no secret that attorneys love paper. It’s also no secret that paper requires extra time to file, store, and search for items — a strong contrast to the ease of use offered by digital documents.
But the benefits of going paperless are even bigger than you think.
In this article, we share some of the key advantages of a paperless office, as well as actionable steps you can take to move your firm in a more digital direction. We’ll also showcase some of the best tools to support your paperless initiatives and our top tips for managing your digital workspace.
Odds are, your firm is operating with amélange of electronic and physical files. But by keeping one foot in the world of paper, you’re missing out on some of the most significant benefits that a digital workspace can provide for your firm. By going paperless, your firm can:
It’s clear that going paperless offers significant benefits for law firms. But how do you actually get started with going paperless?
As previously mentioned, you need to have the right tools in place for your firm to truly go paperless. And while it might require a decent investment upfront, the long-term benefits will more than makeup for the costs. Here’s what you need to help take your firm digital:
A cloud-based document and email management platform is the most critical component of your firm’s paperless strategy. In addition to providing secure storage for your digital files, a DMS can offer additional tools to make document-based work more productive (and secure!) than ever — including collaboration functions, advanced security, and more.
One important feature to look for is OCR, or optical character recognition. This tool enables you to digitize documents and images to turn them into searchable, usable files — whether it’s a PDF or a scanned legacy document.
While there may still be some cases where you need a wet signature, electronic signing carries the same weight and legal effect in many (if not most) situations. Adopting a digital signature tool can help your firm further reduce the need for paper — while also accelerating the signature collection process with clients, vendors, and other parties. Additionally, these tools are becoming increasingly simple to adopt as more vendors are building tighter (and free) integrations with companies like DocuSign.
When you take your firm paperless, there are a few essential (and nice-to-have) pieces of hardware to consider. Here are our top recommendations:
While it’s true that making the paperless transition can require some heavy lifting, the ongoing upkeep is really quite simple. Of course, that’s the whole goal, right? To make it easier for you to store, find, and use your documents.
The most important principle of managing a digital workspace is to be consistent. Stick to the same process every time you receive incoming paper documents, maintain an easy-to-use structure with your digital folders, and always follow the established naming conventions. This will ensure that your digital workspace stays organized and make it easy for your team to find what they need.
Remember, people are also more likely to follow protocol if you make it easy for them — especially at the beginning. While most people will understand the benefits of consistency in theory, they may still be reluctant to change their ways. The simpler you can make it, the more likely they’ll be to adopt the new process.
There’s one last thing we should cover relating to digital document management: security and governance. While news stories about high-profile cybersecurity threats are no laughing matter, they can also be misleading.
The truth is that storing your documents in the cloud can be far more secure than storing them on-site — either physically or digitally. Furthermore, a DMS can offer advanced security controls for user access and actions, so you can be confident that your documents and data are protected from either unintentional or malicious data breaches.
If you want to truly take advantage of all digital document management has to offer, NetDocuments can help.
As the leading cloud-based DMS, our platform is specifically designed to support legal work — enabling attorneys to create, edit, store, locate, and collaborate on documents from anywhere and on any device. In addition to the core platform, we offer a variety of tools to enhance your productivity and drive better results for your firm.
To see how NetDocuments can help your firm claim the full benefits of going paperless, request a demo today!
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