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Have You Ever Thought About Scanning Your Paper?

by Paul Ruby

Many lawyers today are scanning and archiving their paper files to save valuable time and space in their office. It's really a pretty simple, albeit time-consuming, process. There are a few main steps. First, look at your files and figure out how everything should be named. If files aren't easy to find, scanning them is a waste. Do you do lots of work for a particular company? Maybe create a folder with that company's name and make a new document for each employee on whose visa you worked. Is your practice more family-based? In that case, maybe you make folders for FB-1, FB-2, etc. and IR files. Then you could sort the individual clients into the right files. In both cases, it's easy to know where to look if you need to find an old client file. More importantly, it's easy to track down files so you can duplicate them or find relevant transferable information quickly. As the billable hour becomes less and less favored, the ability to accomplish work quickly grows.

Here are four ways scanning your paper can benefit your practice.

    Save $: The money you spend on a storage facility or an extra office that's used as a file room adds up to a lot, month after month and year after year. If you scan your documents, you won't be spending money anymore. In fact, you might even be able to turn around and sublease your newly freed up area or take a more cost-efficient space when it comes time to renew your lease or negotiate a new one.
    Save Time: Productive time is wasted in searching for documents. Once you digitize your paper documents, you will no longer need to visit the storage room to fetch that document. It will all be on your fingertips, as you type out the keyword or click the right folder. An organized system means that you can find files in seconds!
    Easy to Share: When documents are scanned, it's easy to share them with all the other members of your team and allows multiple people to work on them at once. With conventional paper, this isn't possible.
    More Secure: In an electronic document management system, your documents remain secure. So you can share specific documents as confidential, password-protecting them. In a paper-based environment, a project file could contain a few documents that are confidential while the rest are not. They need to be stored together as they are part of the same project. How do you prevent users from flipping over to those documents? That's easy in a paperless, electronic environment.

About The Author

Paul Ruby is General Counsel at ILW.COM. Mr. Ruby is based out of ILW.COM's New York headquarters after several years in private practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Ruby is a graduate of Brown University and Marquette Law School. He is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.