Is your law firm ready to go paperless? If so, you’re not alone. These days, most lawyers understand the benefits of moving toward a paperless law office. But many lawyers aren’t sure where – or how – to start.
The bottom line: with the rise of e-filing, there’s no better time than the present. Of course, as is the case with most changes in a law firm, the key to a successful transition to a paperless law office is to make sure to plan ahead.
Come up with a strategy before starting the process, and make sure to draft clearly written policies and procedures for everyone in your firm who will be part of the move to a paperless office. And most importantly, choose the right hardware. The suggestions that follow are a great place to start.
Law Office Scanners
For starters, you’re going to need the right hardware. Specifically, one of the key tools needed is a reliable, affordable scanner. In The 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide authors Sharon D. Nelson, John W. Simek, and Michael C. Maschke help lawyers sift through their technology choices and address the many different hardware needs of law firms, including scanners. They recommend two different scanners for small law firms, and depending on your small firm’s specific needs, either would be a good choice:
- For firms in need of a low-volume scanner consider the Fujitsu Scansnap iX500, a desktop scanner scans up to 25 color pages per minute.
- For firms in need of a higher-volume scanner, consider the Fujitsu fi-5530C2 scanner, which scans 50 color pages per minute.
If you travel often, whether for court, client meetings, or otherwise, you’ll likely also need access to a scanner when you’re on the road. After all, you never know when you might need to share documents that you’ve just received from the court or opposing counsel with a client or your office. That’s where mobile scanners come in.
Here are 2 popular options to consider:
- The Brother ADS-1250W portable scanner, which is small enough to fit in a briefcase or laptop bag, and has the capacity to scan up to 25 color or black-and-white pages per minute.
- The Fujitsu ScanSnap s1300i, a scanner that is a bit more compact and can scan up to 12 double-sided color or black-and-white pages per minute.
Alternatively, if you’re a frequent traveler, another option is to use your smartphone or tablet to scan documents, upload them, and covert them to PDFs. The good news is that there are a number of document scanner apps available either for free or at very reasonable prices (less than $10).
These apps make it easy to scan a document using your device’s camera function and covert it to a PDF. Then, once you’ve scanned the document, it’s easy to share it via fax, email, or text message. Many also give you the option to store the document by uploading it to a cloud-based document storage website such as Dropbox, Evernote, or Google Docs.
Often-used scanner apps include:
- Scanner Pro (my scanner app of choice)
- Genius Scan
So now that you’ve got the low down on law firm scanning tools and apps, what are you waiting for? The move to a paperless law office is right around the corner. Get started today!
And, for even more great tips on transitioning to a paperless law firm, make sure to watch the video recap of this webinar: Roadmap to a Paperless Law Firm.