Friday, March 23, 2007

Paperless Office: Slaying the Paper Dragon

The paperless (or perhaps less-paper) lawyer that I am had to attend this presentation by Nancy Duhon, from DTC and Bruce Olson from the Olson Law Group.

Why go paperless?
Economy
Convenience
Staff satisfaction
Increased productivity (1-2 h per day)
Integrate with clients more effectively

Overview quotes:
Voice recognition is part of paperless lawyering
Training, training, etc. (as usual with IT)
Backup!!
You need a good scanner and an OCR software
At least 150-300 B&W DPI (dots per inch)
Speed problems with colour scanning
If necessary, you can still print!
Instead of highlighing 3 copies of the same documents, highlight once in pdf and print 3 copies

Issues:
Paperjams (we had a live example on the first page scanned!!)
Scanning numerous pages as one page
Scanning does not mean editing, it is only a picture, unless you OCR and even then, you can't edit as smoothly as on native files.
Not 100% accurate but getting better everyday.
Buy a better document management system than the default Windows Explorer because, shortly, you will need advanced search features and a more robust (and quicker) search engine.

I would add get a fax to email software, you will limit scanning

Good introduction/pros and cons of paperless lawyering

2 comments:

Corey Smith said...

It is interesting to me that you didn't talk about the most important issue, in my opinion, surrounding scanning. That issue is security of the scanned document. There are all sorts of regulations and privacy issues that need to be considered when converting a paper based document to electronic format.

Dominic Jaar said...

Thanks for your comment Corey! As I stated in my posts about the ABA Techshow, I was merely summarizing, live (ie I missed some stuff), what the speakers were saying. This presentation was made by Nancy Duhon, from DTC, and Bruce Olson from the Olson Law Group. It think it was a more a sell speech to convince people to go paperless. They had no intention to enter the details of security issues raised by scanned documents.

As you pointed out in your post, "you really need to look at a document management system that tracks versions and changes. Then, if the change occurs, you can track it." However, I would not refer to this issue as "security". I would rather use a term like "integrity" or to a certain extent "authenticity" which are the concept retained in the laws and regulations you referred to.

We (at Bell Legal) use Opentext (ex-Hummingbird) DMS which enables us to track each documents' history.