We’re often told that a paperless law firm is ideal, without a real examination of why, beyond “it’s good for the environment.” But really, what have the trees done for you lately? What about the business benefits that stem from a paperless law firm?
1. Lower your overhead
Having lots of paper locks you into paying for extra office space to accommodate the bulky file cabinets needed to store those papers—plus, you have to pay people to keep the papers properly organized. By contrast, digital storage costs are ridiculously inexpensive and getting cheaper every year.
2. Boost your profits
Routine paper management is a commoditized process, one that your clients aren’t eager to pay for. Obviously, you have to manage the information contained in paper, but that doesn’t mean you should manage that information in paper form.
When your files are digitized you can start automating many of your routine office processes, which frees you and your staff to spend time on other things that you can charge your clients more for (e.g. high-level strategic thinking. Plus, it allows you to handle more work with minimal incremental cost.
3. Get key information quickly and reliably
Having your files digitized and made available through the cloud means you can instantly access key information at anytime, from anywhere—even if all you have is your smartphone. Plus, if you make your documents text-searchable then you can search for documents based on the text those documents contain.
4. Collaborate more easily
Being able to share your documents easily through the web means you can work more easily with your staff. If a weather disaster makes it hard for people to come to work one day, no problem (we’re looking at you, east coast). Everyone can keep working without interruption, wherever they are.
Having the skill of working remotely via the Internet means you’ll also be able to hire part-time virtual freelancers if you experience a temporary surge in workload or you need temporary specialized assistance on a particular case or project.
5. Gain tactical advantages
Imagine calmly managing your case from the counsel table using your laptop computer, while your opponent frantically rummages through disheveled boxes, to the great frustration of the judge and jury. People will perceive you as ninja-efficient, and your big-firm opponent as a lumbering beast trapped in quicksand.
6. Lower your stress
Life is a lot easier when you have a streamlined, low-overhead practice. Getting rid of your reliance on paper allows you to simplify your work life and experience an amazing sense of freedom. It gives you flexibility and, in turn, peace of mind.