Paperwork is an inseparable part of running a law firm. No matter the size, every company that practices law accumulates a lot of paper that needs to be protected, safely stored, and sorted for easy access whenever necessary.
However, while storage rooms have been a standard for many decades, technological advances are slowly making them redundant and outdated.
Today, more and more law firms choose legal document scanning to solve the never-ending paper document storage and security problem.
This approach does take a commitment, but the long-term benefits far outweigh any initial inconveniences that might have to be overcome.
But why should you use a document scanning service to digitize your legal documents? And what would the process look like?
Let’s explore below.
Why Should You Digitize Your Legal Documents?
Legal document digitization is a big commitment for any company. If you’ve been using paper document storage for a long time, disrupting the proven and seemingly-convenient habits is not something that most people want.
But the benefits are simply too powerful to ignore.
For one thing, any law firm knows that the security of information is a top priority. If something goes missing or falls into the wrong hands, it could not only result in a massive blow to the firm’s reputation but could even put it at risk of going out of business.
And unfortunately, no matter how strict your document storage rules, paper documents have a tendency to go missing.
Meanwhile, with digital documents, everything is stored in a secure server, and only those with authorization can gain access to them. What’s more, every time a document is accessed, a record of it is created, meaning it’s very easy to trace the chain of events if something goes wrong.
And then there’s the question of efficiency.
Law firms need to be able to access documents quickly, and having to go back and forth to the storage room can add up to a lot of time wasted every single day.
Meanwhile, when you digitize your legal documents, your team can access every document in seconds, sorting and searching in them according to various criteria, which saves time and provides valuable insights they can use.
Finally, sharing files becomes much easier as well. Even though the system is secure, working on joint projects becomes easier using an effective document management system.
This includes not only sharing documents that are already available but also working on new records and even saving multiple versions at once, for easy reference and rollback as necessary.
How to Digitize Your Legal Documents
Now that we’ve understood why it’s so essential to digitize your legal documents, we can explore the specific steps involved in the process.
And as you’d expect with a project of this scale, using a professional document scanning service is the only path that truly makes sense.
First of all, talk to the scanning services providers about the type of infrastructure you want to create. Law firms have unique requirements in terms of document security, so simply storing the docs on a hard drive is definitely not a good idea.
The good news is that an experienced services provider will offer you comprehensive document management solutions and can even offer customizations that will ensure the switch to a paperless office will be worth it.
They should also help you map out the process and how it will look. It’s important to minimize the disruption that the task will cause on day-to-day activities, so planning ahead to make the process go smoothly is a top priority.
For one thing, it’s a good idea to start with the most recent documents first, since they are the most likely to be needed immediately. The quicker you can get them into the database, the sooner your team can start using them and getting back to work.
As you progress, you can move backward, adding the most important documents that are required and then going ahead until all of the papers have been digitized.
Another crucial aspect of a successful legal document scanning process is ensuring that your team actually uses the new digital database.
Therefore, you should consult with the scanning firm in preparing introductory materials or even workshops where you can walk through the best practices and security measures for accessing and using the documents.
The last step before getting started on the scanning process is to talk with the scanning company about how you would like the documents to be grouped and sorted.
You probably already have a sophisticated system for sorting your paper documents, so you want to transfer the same system to the digital format. Or, you could consider implementing a newer and more efficient way to sort and group the documents, which could have significant long-term benefits as well.
At this point, the scanning services provider should be ready to take over and start working through your paper records.
An experienced document digitization company should be able to come to your firm and provide on-site scanning, which can significantly cut down the time the process takes and minimize the disruption of the work.
They can set up a designated workstation with all the necessary equipment, come with the entire team of experts needed for the job, and get it all done in a matter of days, even on large projects.
Since legal documents can contain sensitive information, having scanning services providers come in can give you peace of mind, minimizing the risk of something going wrong.
Instead of having to transport the documents between multiple locations, everything happens in one place, and the documents that are scanned become immediately available to be used by your staff again.
Then, as they get uploaded to the database, and your team learns how to use it, you can begin slowly transitioning towards paperless document management practices, making the process as easy and painless as possible for your entire team.
Brandon Harris is the vice president of Smooth Solutions founded by his father Michael Harris, who has been a pioneer in the document scanning industry for over 35 years. A leading Document Scanning Company in Lodi, N.J., they are experts in providing bulk document digitisation services, document management software, workflow management software, affordable book scanning services, ecm software and Convert Microfilm to Digital. They scan paper files, large format drawings, digitize books, convert microfilm to digital, etc. Prior to that, Brandon owned and operated a small bakery. Other than working to grow and improve his business, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and family.