Webinar Recap: The Imperative of a Digital Matter File

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In a law firm, no set of files is as important as the matter file. Your matter file contains sensitive client information and will be referred to regularly by attorneys and staff.

While most law firm activity is moving digital, there is still resistance to moving matters to digital formats. Attorneys have traditionally preferred to handle paper, and staff are often afraid to shred files leading to mountains of physical storage.

Many firms, however, are seeing the best of both worlds: continuing to use paper while a matter is active, but then storing it digitally once a matter is complete. This concept of building a digital matter file for long-term storage while utilizing paper as needed is the subject of the latest NetDocuments webinar, The Imperative of a Digital Matter File, in partnership with DocSolid.

Why Should You Prioritize a Digital Matter File?

Before discussing how to make the transition to a digital matter file, it’s important to first determine if it’s worthwhile. You may question if there is much of a difference or upside to moving to digital. However, there are three significant benefits to making the move:

  1. Hard Cost Savings: With paper containing sensitive information, you must have a place to store it, secure it, and even pay for labor in order to move and handle it. In short, paper is costly and there is massive potential in hard cost savings by digitally storing files and shredding paper.
  2. Reduced Risk of Disaster: Perhaps less obvious, is the risk that paper poses to your organization in the case of a disaster. If there is a fire or major issue, are your physical files backed up? If not, they are lost forever. If they are, what does that look like? You would then have double the amount of physical storage in a separate location, which adds up. Digital storage allows for an easier, scalable option for backing up files in case of a disaster.
  3. Staff Time-Savings: As the focus on legal services is pivoting to more agile models, it is becoming more and more apparent that digital matter files are essential to saving staff enormous amounts of time. Your files need to be updated and referred to often and the more paper you have the harder it is to find what you’re looking for. Organizing the storage and finding papers takes time.

Where Law Firms Can Start

To start moving digital, law firms must commit that their single source of truth for files will be a digital environment. Once that decision is made, the steps are progressive in eliminating paper and reaping the benefits.

How Law Firms can Rely Less on Paper

In order to reduce how much paper is used in the office, the first step is to determine where paper gets in the office in the first place.

The source of paper in an office is two places: the door and the printer. By understanding the source of paper, you can use technology to remove the paper dependence. Here are three steps to get started in eliminating paper.

  1. Determine your digital single source of truth. Using NetDocuments, you can store all files and know any paper you use can be stored in NetDocuments. Now you can search all your files, and you can shred paper once it’s been stored.
  2. Postmark paper coming in the door. WithDocSolid, you can put a mark on paper that comes into the building. This mark does two things: first, it stores the file in NetDocuments - your single source of truth. Second, the mark signals to whoever hold the paper that it can be shredded as soon as you’re finished.
  3. Postmark paper printed in the office. In a similar manner, when paper is printed, it’s stored in NetDocuments and marked that it’s safe to shred.

Part of the reason paper piles up is nobody wants to be the one to shred paper so it’s always safer to keep it around. These steps will stop new paper from building up in the office and provide a convenient, accessible place to access important files.

Once you create a digital matter file as a single source of truth, you can tackle the points of entry for paper and empower your team to shred. Quickly, and without changing much in the team’s workflow, you are now able to eliminate nearly all paper filing which makes security and search much easier.

To learn the specific details on how to implement this in your law firm, check out the webinar with NetDocuments and DocSolid.

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