This is a real story about our law firm, which now saves hours of time each week by having changed all our records from physical paper to digital form. Our senior attorneys fought the idea of switching over our records with the excuse of “it works” and “we never had problems, why change it?” This is how it was for several years. Eventually some of the younger partners were able to convince the more senior partners to buy in.
We paid to have all our client documentation scanned and turned into digital form. This was no small task as we have had over 20 years of cases previously sitting in our office. Think about it, boxes and boxes of client-related information locked away “safe and sound”. That was just the very first step; below are a few more issues that occurred that we never thought of when committing to this adventure.
- We had organizational issues such as misplacing files or having old files getting mixed with current clients'.
- We had to make sure all our existing computers and tablets were up to date and supported the software.
- We had extra bodies in our office to help complete the transition process. This made it a little bit louder, with distractions occurring during the work day.
- The transition was not tested and we did everything at once. It was a pain, but fortunately we ended up not having too many issues.
As you can imagine the senior partners weren’t pleased at this point. However, once everything was set up and ready to go, the training process occurred. We were all shown how to access files, make edits, and even get access to this information from our smart phones and tablets. Once the training was completed we outlined some of the benefits we had received by completing this conversion.
- Online documentation is now available on computers, smart phones and even iPads.
- Some attorneys have even retired their briefcases now that they have everything available virtually.
- No sudden last-minute “I forgot X” or having an associate meet up with an attorney to deliver documentation.
- No more storage! We no longer have to be paranoid about securely storing paper files for previous clients. This was a concern even the senior partners had with the old system.
Changing our paper process to digital wasn’t exactly an easy process but it was well worth it. Not many people want to change something that isn’t broken, but people have yet to realize the extra benefits associated with this conversion. If I had to guess, I believe this conversion saves each of our attorneys several hours a week just in staying organized. This alone is definitely worth the cost! Talk about an intern experience; this wasn't something I had thought about when making the decision to become a lawyer.