Technology has had a big impact on law firms. E-discovery, for example, has become the norm in many complicated legal cases where attorneys have to sort through massive amounts of digital information. Another rising trend is how firms can use technology to streamline practice management, reported Law Technology News. Many offices are now utilizing a cloud-based paperless office system that allows them to scan and store documents virtually so they can be sorted, searched through and accessed from any computer with an internet connection.
This provides various benefits in different departments throughout a firm:
- Case management: Lawyers’ time is valuable, so using document management to scan and store all paperwork related to cases in one easy-to-access location will help make the most of their time. This will also make it easier for teams to work together throughout the case, as every member will have access to all case files and information. Plus, the group can even share notes and briefs that can be edited by multiple users simultaneously.
- Financial management: Law firms have complex accounting departments. New automated workflow systems can streamline complicated invoicing and bill payment processes by automatically determining where inbound documents should go and how they’re classified. This makes it easier for accountants and billing personnel to track financial reporting, payroll information, bank reconciliations, invoicing, expense reimbursement and bill payment.
- Mail room management: Many law firms receive at least hundreds of pieces of mail per week. Manual sorting can be slow, costly and result in delays to cases. Instead, firms can utilize an automated electronic delivery system that sorts, classifies and even extracts information. Newer software such as Ephesoft can automatically sort all inbound mail/email and OCR documents so they are discoverable. This allows important paperwork, contracts and forms to be delivered to the appropriate individual more quickly.
“We are in the [21st] century. We have the technology to be 100 [percent] paperless and we all should have the desire to be there sooner rather than later,” wrote attorney Michael Morse on Practice Today about his decision to make his firm paperless. “There is no good reason NOT to be as paperless as possible. We can learn from other States that are perfecting this. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. There is a global movement to ‘go green’ and the technology to do so is inexpensive and right at our fingertips. We as lawyers need to do our part.”