Is the Paperless Law Firm a Dream?
Is it possible to run a law firm without paper?
Here at Law Firm Next, we believe that it is. Not only do we believe it’s possible but we also believe that going paperless is the best option for law firms.
Traditionally, law firms have always used a lot of paper. That translates to spending a lot of money on paper, ink, other supplies, and printers. You’ll also have the added stress of having to figure out where you’ll store all that paper. You may need a bunch of paper files, more furniture to store all of the paper, larger offices, or maybe even an extra storage space for everything.
All in all, paper just creates more problems for law firms. It creates finance and space challenges. The idea that law firms have to be swimming in paper this way is a myth and here’s why.
We’re Talking Paper Less, Not Paper None
There will be some paper in your firm and that’s okay. The idea is that we want to become very intentional about how and when we’re using paper.
Think about what paper your firm really needs. There are a lot of great reasons that we have paper in a law firm, some of the most obvious being court filings, immigration filings, real estate deeds, and other things that technology just hasn’t caught up with.
Additionally, paper can make it easier to draft and analyze documents. If having physical documents next to you makes life easier when you’re talking to a client, keep it. Just keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to keep the paper for the entirety of the case or the entirety of your firm. It just means that you have a very specific reason for wanting that paper at that point in time.
The final place where paper might come in handy is when you’re taking notes, especially in a situation like a consult where you don’t want a computer between you and the potential client.
Get The Right Tools
A paperless office is made easier by the tools that you’re using.
The first we would recommend is document storage like Dropbox or OneDrive where you can easily access your documents from out of the office.
There are also a lot of practice management tools that have document storage. If you don’t have access to one of those or you don’t prefer the option you have, just look for alternatives.
You also need a good scanner to go paperless. Make sure all your team members have easy access to these scanners.
Another tool that really can help with going paperless is using multiple screens. These can help you be able to access as many documents as you want at once. One option for getting a second screen is having a tablet. These can also be used to access documents and take notes.
The final tool is called Rocket Book. It’s a reusable notebook that you can write in with a pen, wipe clean, and then use again. It also comes with an app that makes it easy to scan and store your handwritten notes.
Go Cold Turkey
The “cold turkey” method involves removing all of the pens and paper from your office. You’d take all of your sticky notes and place them down the hall in a different office. You’d take the pens off your desk and put them in the reception area. You’d even get all the mail off your desk.
The reason you should do this is because if your client calls you and says, “Hey, I need to change this one provision in my will,” out of habit you’re going to grab a pen and start writing on the back of an envelope. Then you’ll never find it again and you’ll get frustrated.
However, without pens, you’ll just click a button in your software and start typing. Then, your note will be saved digitally for everyone to be able to access.
If you want to learn more about how to go paperless in your law firm, check out https://nextlevel.legal/episode/lfn009/.