Many lawyers are now faced with challenges of reducing paper consumption whilst moving to the electronic file, as well as improving their mobile working processes. In the last few years scanning has been on the rise with the effort to make every matter file electronic. That said printing has also been on the increase as more often than not the electronic file is printed out to read or mark-up. The less paper lawyer approach within a law firm is helping companies and individuals reduce costs, save on space and reduce paper wastage. However, for lawyers this move to digital is not as easy as it sounds, and must also meet security protocols to protect sensitive data.
Ben Macfarlane is a lawyer by trade, and after being a partner at the City practice of Clyde Co he worked for 10 years as the principle and then director of Ben Macfarlane & Co, and is now a Member of Ross & Co Solicitors LLP. Ben was recently faced with the challenges of organising his files, as well as saving on costs and space;
“for a small firm, space is at a premium” commented Macfarlane.
Furthermore, he needed a secure method of sending files containing information about cases in a simple manner.
Ben chose Nikec Binder from Nikec Solutions to help organise his emails, pleadings and reports, mainly because of its ease of use. It gives Ben, as it would any lawyer, the familiarity of a traditional ring binder, with its similar features, but in an intuitive electronic format. Nikec Binder helps to eliminate the need to print files and save on time and costs; it encourages lawyers to go digital, providing an electronic storage method that consequently saves on office space.
“The way the Binder organises these files and displays them in a traditional binder format makes locating files easy, even when there is a large quantity of files” commented Ben. “I can quickly search for keywords within the whole binder, annotate or edit the documents, whilst keeping a fully synchronised version with the original documents.”
The elimination of large amounts of paper means that for lawyers like Ben there is no longer a problem of transporting large volumes of documents around whilst travelling. Binders can be viewed on a laptop or tablet making mobile working easy. Furthermore, users can make annotations or amendments on the documents in the binder whilst on the move, and these can be automatically synced back to the desktop binder, so they are always working on the most up to date version. Nikec Binder allows lawyers to mark files as ‘confidential’ and block out sensitive information about cases, which means they can share the file and not breach confidentiality.
Another problem Ben faced was sending confidential data securely. Whilst lawyers are under pressure to move to digital working, it is important that they do not breach security as they are often dealing with sensitive data. As many consumer products fall short, Ben uses another of Nikec’s products, Nikec’s Docstore, a secure file sharing platform, to transmit files to counsel, experts and factual witnesses, because it has become essential these files are transmitted and stored securely. Ben says “these documents would otherwise have to be couriered, so it saves on time and costs”. With the additional benefits of file encryption and remote wipe capability Ben can ensure confidential information is never compromised.
This is just a snippet of how such solutions can aid the less paper lawyer. Today’s lawyers need to be mobile, they are certainly being pushed to be ‘less paper’ and they also must keep their documents secure during exchange, but they are not always given the right tools to help them succeed in this new way of working. So for law firms that are satisfied with their less paper drive after they have removed paper from the desks and floors, they should really look at how the lawyers are working with the electronic file, and how they can boost their productivity.