Published on April 24th, 2018 | by Guest0
Why Law Firms Need to Digitize Their Records Regardless of Size
Don’t be the next Enron
The rules and regulations surrounding record keeping in the legal field are complex and downright scary if you’re not overly familiar with them. Discard old files too soon and you can be slapped with destruction of evidence should the case ever be challenged. For individual lawyers or even small teams, keeping track of this on top of working your cases; it can be a downright nightmare. In order to avoid this problem, it is important to have a record management plan in place.
This plan should include a “document lifecycle” or timeline on when files are received, where they are stored, for how long they are stored there, and when it’s okay to destroy them. The details should be common knowledge in your firm and for your clients. In one of your first meetings with a new client, it would be a good practice to go over your record management plan so they know how long you will hold onto their files for.
One Plan Can’t Account for Everything
If you’ve ever made any kind of plan, then you’ll know that they are bound to go sideways in some manner or another. The same can be said about your record management plan. In most cases with record management, the issues are either environmental or human error. File something wrong when you’re tired after a long day and now you can’t find it; or a flood/fire has destroyed all your records.
These disasters happen all the time and are devastating to any business when they do, especially small and growing ones. But those in the legal sector, and especially those who aren’t part of a big firm; are at additional risk due to the fear of losing clients or being sued. This is why any and all law firms and lawyers need to include one crucial step in their plan, digital back-up.
Why Digitize Legal Records?
While standard document storage methods can satisfy legal demands, there are a multitude of benefits that can be enjoyed by digitizing legal records. If your firm has their files scanned and digitized, they will be backed up and protected from natural disasters and daily human error. Paper documents can be soaked through, burned, or lost. However, digital documents will remain picture perfect for years to come and can be stored in a significantly smaller area, they can even be stored on the cloud outside of your office. This way you know your files are safe and easily accessible. Electronic documents can be accessed and retrieved in a matter of seconds by searching index fields, such as client name or case number.
Cloud hosting also offers the ability of remote access with a unique user ID. This way you can sign on securely and view the documents you need while away from the office. This comes in handy when you think of something while away from the office, or if a client calls and needs information from a specific document. You can just pull it up on your phone and move through the meeting flawlessly. These digital documents can also be locked from further changes and shared to those with approval to view them so that everyone has a copy at any time. This improves collaboration, productivity and efficiency while cutting down expenses.
What’s Left to Think About?
If you’re still debating on if legal document scanning and digitizing is right for you, just remember that the longer you wait the more you will have to do in the future. Gone will be the days of spending countless accumulated hours searching through filing cabinets for the right file. Not having to physically store and/or ship cumbersome paper files will save you tons of office space and money in the long term. As an added bonus, you can also automate the flow of documents so that once they’re scanned, a copy is electronically delivered to the people who will be using it.
Final Food for Thought
Even if you don’t go through with digitizing your records, there’s a good chance your competitors will. I’ve already pointed out the numerous benefits of digital documents, they make your life and your clients’ life significantly easier. Trust me when I say; people will gladly pay for and choose easier over harder any day of the week. Don’t get left beyond, digitize your legal files today.
About the author: Brandon is the owner of Smoot Solutions – a leading Document Scanning Services in Lodi, NJ, experts at providing document digitization services such as paper document, large format, microfilm conversion, book scanning service, newspaper etc. Prior to that he owned and operated a small bakery. It may seem like a far stretch but at the end of the day his work is all about making people happy. Other than working to grow and improve his business, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and family.