New document imaging technologies help lawyers...
The legal profession is awash in paper. According to the American Bar Association, Americans filed 87.5 million new cases in 1996 and the numbers keep growing. Yet litigation support techniques have not kept pace with the litigation explosion. Many lawyers keep discovery documents in boxes or file cabinets that have to be searched manually before depositions or key litigation events.
Most law firms maintain rows of filing cabinets and workrooms stuffed with paper, at rent prices ranging up to $100 a square foot. Many firms also use outside document repositories to handle their overflow. By one estimate, a mid-sized law firm might spend as much as $350,000 a year for paper storage.
Document storage and delivery problems are compounded when lawyers work in multi-office or multi-firm teams and each office must organize and store its own set of files.
Law firm staff members spend countless hours searching for paper documents, organizing, reviewing, copying, annotating and sending them.
The practice of law and document imaging are ideally suited for each other.
Substantial amounts of overhead dollars are consumed by records management and retrieval costs. Storing records in an imaging system both maximizes retrieval ease and speed and dramatically lowers storage cost and staff expenses. Using a document imaging system, a firm can:
Using our system, law firms are able to convert new and old documents to PDF files
- Search across all active and inactive files for any client without leaving your desk
- Share or route a document among several staff members without making photocopies
- Substantially reduce off-site storage requirements
- Virtually eliminate off-site retrievals
- Reduce, even eliminate misplaced documents
- Reduce photocopying costs
- Save storage costs
Using our system, law firms are able to convert new and old documents - including pleadings, work orders, evidence, and federal and state filings - to PDF files. When combined with Adobe Acrobat, PDF files enable lawyers and staff to create, publish, and work with digital documents just as they would with paper, cutting costs, saving time, and gaining efficiencies.
Exact fidelity of electronic files with paper documents is essential for law firms because it aids discovery, facilitates collaboration among team members in different locations who want to work with documents that look the same, and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements. PDF maintains the integrity of any document, regardless of the source, electronic file, paper, or Web, and displays materials on screen exactly as they would appear in print.
Law firms, their clients, and partners work with a variety of platforms, applications, and application versions. When law firms convert documents to PDF, any partner, staff member, or client can use free Adobe Reader software to view or print an exact replica of the original paper document.
Search through millions of legal documents in a matter of seconds from your desktop PC
Our document imaging system enable lawyers to search through millions of PDF files to find all the documents that reference specific information. In comparison, searching though volumes of paper documents often requires a team of legal assistants to work for days or weeks, with no assurance that they have found all relevant information. Our PDF based document imaging system can cut weeks off the time to prepare cases and help develop stronger cases, as well. Time savings escalate further when high-quality, searchable PDF files are distributed to partners and staff over the Internet because communications can happen in seconds instead of days.
The firm no longer needs to spend valuable lawyer or paralegal time searching through boxes of paper looking for a specific document. Our document imaging system eliminates the problems of misplaced or misfiled documents. Multiple lawyers or paralegals, even in remote locations, can view the same document.
The ultimate benefit of our PDF based document imaging system may be at trial.
Since our system is highly portable, it is no longer a logistical nightmare to bring large numbers of documents to the Court House. Many judges are allowing computers into the courtroom either as tools to aid counsel, or in some cases, as part of the trial presentation process to the jury. Document exhibits can be shown to the jury on monitors, marked with highlights to relevant portions.
The U.S. Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and several state and local courts, encourage e-filing in PDF, the standard that they have identified for receiving entire case files and dockets. The courts' willingness to accept documents electronically is changing the legal landscape.
E-filing eliminates many of the costs, hassles, and delays at the court charged with managing and archiving the paper files. With e-filing, PDF files are not just available when the courts are open; they are available around the clock.
Law firms back office operations also benefit from a document imaging system.
Law firms back office and client billing operations require that large amounts of paper records be kept and placed in files for extended periods of time to substantiate client charges or firms expenses. This is an expensive, time consuming process that requires substantial file storage space. Document imaging is ideal for managing client statements, receipts, checks and other supporting financial documents. It also eliminates the embarrassment of losing corroborative data.
Taking Files Off-site...
When an attorney leaves the office, a copy of the entire file can be downloaded onto his/her laptop computer. Thus the file remains available in the office should other members of the firm need to access the file. The result is a lower frustration level by staff and a more professional image conveyed to clients.
Offsite Storage Protection...
Consider what happens if you have fire or water damage to paper documents. They may be lost forever. Document imaging can protect your important work papers because electronic files are easily copied and stored offsite so that important information will not be lost.
Summary: The Immediate Benefits of Document Imaging...
- Document retrieval time deduction in the 30-90% range
- Instantaneous cross-reference to and 'screen-view' of depositions, trial or motion exhibits, and other records
- Storage and net floor-space reductions in the 50-80% range
- No lost and misfiled documents
- Multiple persons can access and view the same document at the same time if you are networked improving interoffice collaboration efforts
- Coding of documents for search and retrieval for interviews, depositions, arbitration, etc.
- Improved case management and case preparation
- Off-site document storage protection against water, wind or fire damage
- And, much more...