Consider how technology has really made us more efficient over time. In 1986 I went to Europe and managed the European operation of a computer company. I remember around 1987 we got a fax machine! Wow! It changed our lives. Then about 1992 we got emails. What a savings in time instead of printing and faxing, we simply typed and sent I worked at WordPerfect and Novell with Groupwise in its early stages and now we all recognize how email has truly changed the way we do business and how we communicate. Its drastically helped us reduce paper (now of course I hear how many attorneys tell their secretaries to print their inbox for them Isn't it sad to run across this item on the ABA's Site-Tation that states: "
According to the 2006 Legal Technology Survey Report, 61% of attorneys save email related to a case or client matter by printing out a hard copy." Actually, it's probably a good thing that we didn't find the percentage of lawyers who later scan those printouts of emails as TIFFs to reconvert them to digital form. This isn't even a step toward a paperless office - it's a move toward a "papermore" office. OLD WAYS DIE HARD! By the way, one of the major lessons from the Katrina and Rita disasters was the vulnerability of paper records in disasters. The fetish for paper runs against technology and business trends. It places law firms and their clients at an unnecessary risk. Paper is not the most efficient mode of communication and it is no longer the most secure method of retaining information but you CANNOT protect paper. BUT it sure a lot easier to READ!! Right?
So lets explore steps for moving away from paper, dealing with electronic information and to do it practically and ethically. These are some notes from a presentation I did to a group of lawyers in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Taking the FIRST STEPS
Get an MFP or quality scanner and begin converting paper documents to create electronic versions. Implement software and other tools to avoid going to paper whenever possible and to develop technology to avoid the need for traditional printing larger monitors, for example, PDF view of a document print formatted. Broadband speeds and accessibility to get to documents.
The WORLD OF SCANNING
Other Paperless ISSUES: