Best Practices for a Paperless OfficeThe Paralegal Resource
March 18, 2014 — 1,262 views
A law firm and paper go hand in hand, considering the number of physical documents that change hands. In the present-day situation, however, there is a solution to the problem, which is in taking the paperless office route. If you are a paralegal and are looking to take your case management online, you could consider the following methods:
First, make an assessment of the documents that you need to keep and those that you need to junk. Also, consider what you will convert into a pdf or other electronic files and what you will retain in paper format, depending on the document retention and destruction guidelines of your law firm. Before you convert into a paperless office, you should know that there are some paper documents you will not be able to get rid of. Documents that have legal importance such as wills or contracts cannot be converted into an electronic file by scanning them because the court may need you to retain the original.
What can’t be avoided...
Also, if there are original documents such as diaries belonging to the client who gave it to you in the course of litigation, you can return them once you no longer need them. Once you have sorted out the paper documents and have decided what you need to convert into electronic formats, you should get yourself a scanner, and an efficient case management software installed. The fax machine needs to go as well, because you will carry out all communication online. Your newsletters that go out to clients or other stakeholders, reports and bills will now be converted into the pdf format.
Case management system
There are many case management software programs, so choose the one that works for you. To make this choice, you will need the help of a professional who will tell you for instance, what the benefits of a cloud-based software are, and warn you about the pitfalls. Simply put, a cloud-based software program allows you to store data on a cloud-based server, so even if your hard drive on the PC or laptop crashes, you have all the case documents stored safely. However, you need to make sure that the software is highly secure; easy accessibility or use on remote computers or tablets could mean a security risk. Also, check if the case management software comes with features that help you with billing or creating invoices, which is one more step towards a paperless office.