Digital document management is having a major impact across industries. In the legal profession, going paperless offers some key advantages. Fortunately, going digital with your documents is more convenient than ever before. Learn more about why you should make going paperless a priority for your legal firm and how you can make it happen.
Challenges with Traditional Document Management
If you’re making do with traditional paper processes in your legal office, then you may be frustrated by some of the challenges involved, including:
- Physical storage space: In addition to current files, legal offices must maintain extensive archives. In many cases, this need for storage extends beyond the office to off-site storage, requiring an ongoing cost.
- Limited access: With paper files, you can only access a document when you’re in the office where they’re stored or if you take the physical copy with you. This limited access can be especially problematic if you have multiple offices or like to complete work from home.
- Difficulty finding files: Searching for the right file can be frustrating and time-consuming when you have to sort through physical file folders. This can be especially problematic when you can’t recall the field a document is filed under, whether it’s the client’s name, incident number, or other identifier.
Advantages of Legal Document Management
Overall, digital document management can streamline your document management processes and alleviate all of the pain points we looked at above. Some of the main benefits include:
- Virtual storage: Eliminate physical storage and keep documents as long as you need them with virtual storage. You can responsibly dispose of stacks of papers, regaining square footage in your office and removing the need for off-site storage.
- Improved security: You can improve your document security with legal document management because you can use passwords and other protocols to restrict access to files. Having documents backed up in the cloud also secures files against risks paper documents are subject to, such as water damage or becoming misplaced.
- Expanded access: Cloud-based storage allows you to access documents anywhere, so long as you have an internet connection and the right credentials. Whether you’re at home, another office location, or in court, you can quickly pull up the documents you need to reference. This is a major benefit considering 76 percent of lawyers want to work from home at least one day per week.
- Efficient searching: You don’t need to remember the incident number or other identifiers when you can use simple keyword searches to access documents. Search by any keyword in the document you want and find it instantly.
- Legal compliance: Certain jurisdictions are going digital with their processes, so documents must be sent to court digitally. When you go paperless, you’re already fully prepared for this mandate if it is instated in your state, county, or municipality.
Overcoming Barriers to Going Paperless
Going digital can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Also, it’s well worth the investment. Gartner predicts that legal departments will increase their investment in technology three times over by 2025.
Some attorneys are hesitant to go paperless because they assume converting paper files will involve extensive manual work. Fortunately, humans and technology can now work together to empower rapid and accurate digitization. You can scan your existing documents in-house or hand this responsibility off to a service provider.
The manual work humans do to scan documents is aided by optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which automatically digitizes the text in scanned documents. Digitizing the text in a document delivers all the benefits of a document created digitally, including the ability to copy and paste information and search by keyword.
OCR has become increasingly accurate over the years. Legal symbols are now included in the OCR database, making it more accurate than ever for legal documents. Humans can still make tweaks as needed to ensure the digital copy of a paper document is accurate, but the manual work required is dramatically diminished.
Partner with CPI for Legal Document Management Solutions
CPI helps companies digitize their existing files and implement digital solutions that streamline their document management. Learn how we helped one company expertly manage its documents in our Welasco case study.