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Improving Office Workflow in a Law Office

October 22, 2015

In today’s digitized world, the law office may be the last bastion of paper stacks and metal filing cabinets. Or is it? Increasingly, law firms are turning toward document management systems that save them time in document retrieval, significantly reduce their paper and printing costs, and provide invaluable security and disaster recovery systems. Plus, the ease of sharing electronic documents earns them cache with clients.

The benefits of streamlining office solutions within a law firm are obvious. Time spent retrieving physical documents can take minutes versus the seconds it takes to perform a computer search.

Law Office Solutions

Yet, converting to a digital records management system can be quite tricky for law offices. In a law office, pertinent information comes in many formats — email, mail, photos, and telephone calls — it can be difficult to capture all information. Law firms must be diligent about scanning all relevant documentation, which means being extremely organized. Many experts recommend an inbox where documents cannot be touched until they are scanned.

A multifunction printer can ease the burden of digital records management because it can automatically store documents that are sent via fax and email. Once you scan a document, it is stored electronically and backed up continuously for future reference, editing, and sharing. This saves an enormous amount of time and paper because documents can be shared electronically among a legal team, clients and with opposing counsel. When documents are shared across a network, they can be accessed quickly, even when lawyers are not in the office.

Here are some more tips to improve workflow in a law office:

1. Set up a scanning system that is ironclad, so all documents become part of the digital file.

2. Designate tasks. Who is responsible for scanning mail? For hard copies of notes?

3. Come up with a file-naming system and be consistent with it. This is critical so that all pertinent documents come up in a search. Files can be organized by client names, with subfolders related to various types of documents such as correspondence, discovery or research.

4. Take the proper security measures. Because digital files are so easily and quickly shared, it's critical to add passwords and encryption when necessary.

However your firm decides to streamline office solutions, the key is to come up with a specific, step-by-step guide complete with best practices, the right equipment to use, and the best software to use to be shared across the firm. If you don’t have the time or the inclination, consider contracting out with a company like Pacific Office Automation that provides workflow solutions to come up with a system that works for your firm.

Important to Remember:

Make sure you have a robust backup and disaster recovery system in place, preferably cloud-based, and email security for client communications. It's worth every penny you spend on managed IT services when faced with potential lost data or client confidentiality breaches.

As discussed above, investing in an MFP can help a law firm streamline workflow. But what are the best office printers for a law office? Here’s a wishlist:

● A high-volume printer that is fast, 50 pages per minute if it is shared in a workgroup of 5-10 people.

● Decent print quality.

● Enough on-board memory to ensure you can send and receive large documents in one simple task.

● Automatic document feeder for scanning multiple pages at a time.

● Advanced security features.

● An MFP that can perform a variety of finishing tasks like collating, stapling, hole-punching and offset stacking, if these are tasks that staff perform on a daily basis.

Going paperless in a profession that is so document heavy can seem daunting. The payoff can be well worth it in time and cost savings if you can find an office solution that works. If you need further assistance, Pacific Office Automation has been in the business of workflow solutions and office printers for more than 30 years. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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