With all of the technology and resources available, is your firm still keeping paper records of your case files? Are you wasting significant time sifting through paper or retrieving files from offsite storage facilities? While discovery, in most instances, has moved towards electronic review and production, some firms and corporations have not taken the leap to digitizing their case files and management records.
Law.com published an article this week written by a law firm administrator and senior paralegal, Judy Stouffer of Berner Klaw & Watson, discussing her firm’s recent decision to make all files readily accessible, thereby ridding themselves of the need for offsite storage. So how can your firm accomplish this big project?
- Scan all incoming and outgoing mail on a regular basis.
- Choose a time when things are quiet (or slow) around the office to tackle this project. Enlist a team to help—paralegals, law clerks, etc…delegating work/assignments.
- Create an archiving and retention policy that explains what to save, naming convention, and how/where files will be stored on your system. (Be sure to check rules of professional conduct for your firm’s obligation to preserve data and records for clients.)
- Realize that it will not get accomplished overnight, but this project will pay off in the end.
What are some of the advantages to digital record keeping?
- The information is available immediately, and avoids expensive retrieval costs, “especially if the file is needed urgently.”
- Better use of your office resources. There are many instances where clients cannot wait for retrieval of offsite storage and paralegals/clerks are sent to the courthouse for the tedious task of retrieving copies of filings/pleadings.
Considerations when converting your firms records to digital storage:
- Assess your firm’s storage capabilities before trying to convert to digital storage. “Make sure your current file server(s) can handle the extra storage and to be sure you have appropriate electronic backup procedures in place.”
- Be sure to check rules of professional conduct for your firm’s obligation to preserve data and records for clients.
- “Consider the cost savings with cloud storage.” Firms using third parties to host email off-site are “already using a hybrid approach to cloud technology.”
Read the full article on tips to successfully complete your firm’s move towards digital storage, The Time Has Come to Consider Digitizing Law Firm Case Files.