Can Firms Operate Fully Paperless?

The legal profession, known for its reliance on mountains of paperwork, is now witnessing a transformative shift towards paperless operations. This article explores why it’s time that law firms should ditch the paper files and look towards going digital and paperless.

There are a number of compelling reasons why moving towards a paperless office makes sense. The first is the cost argument, not only from a printing perspective, but also considering the costs of storage (including office space), document retrieval and postage which can be drastically reduced. While the cost of digital storage is not free, it is significantly more affordable when weighed against all the factors that need to be included into physical storage.

Similar to this is the time cost of locating files, as well as waiting for correspondence by post in both directions. A study for document management solution NetDocuments found that a fifth of a fee-earner’s working week was spent locating the right documents – something that can be reduced to minutes with a digital document management system.

The security argument is also a strong one. Paper documents are susceptible to loss, theft, or damage, while a digital ecosystem, supported by secure document management software, ensures robust data encryption and safeguarding sensitive client information. With the strict regulatory frameworks in place for law firms, paperless operations with comprehensive audit trails and version histories facilitate greater compliance and accuracy.

There are also strong client-facing reasons for doing so. Sustainability is something that people are looking to support and be a part of in most things, and reducing their footprint through less paper is now seen as a commonplace request in the digital marketplace. Clients are also looking for more digital and efficient client journeys, and will seek out firms that will cater to their needs of being always-on, and offering digital communication and collaboration channels.


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