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5 errors law firms often make when it comes to document and print technology

Law firms can make errors when considering their printing and document management

“Time is money.” Benjamin Franklin, 1748

The great American polymath Benjamin Franklin understood the truth that time and money are connected. Since law firms charge by time, any efficiencies gained can be applied to their bottom line.As well, office space can have a large impact on costs with the area often needed to store documents.

Law firms make errors when considering their printing and document management. The following items include five of the most common errors:

1: Not managing paper flow and document storage properly

The days of manually managing printed documents are numbered. It can be very time-consuming and inefficient to print, sort, copy and store documents on an ad hoc basis. Manual document management is also open to security breaches and locking away data that must be manually retrieved in the future can be complicated.

Firms need an effective workflow management platform that is efficient, scalable and secure.Such a platform needs to include:

  • The ability to scan directly to email or file
  • Digital document storage locally or on the cloud
  • Programs to convert scanned documents into editable and searchable digital formats
  • The reduction of printing and storage of paper documents.

    Firms that embrace these practices would lower their print, storage and staff costs and improve their productivity.

    2: Not tracking and charging for print costs 

    Print costs can be significant, and many law firms do not have systems in place to track costs according to jobs and clients. Or print jobs are done manually, which can be time-intensive and inefficient.

    A better solution is to use print management software, which can:

    • Set rules to lower costs through mono and double-sided options
    • Track print jobs to clients and projects
  • Track printing to staff members.

    The benefits of automating print administration are realised in better data and reporting, which leads to the ability to charge clients for the printing costs they engender.

    3: Not treating security seriously  

    While much of the security of data is focused on cybersecurity, it is common for breaches to occur through more obvious means, such as leaving documents on a printer.

    Close to half of law firms in a recent survey took no active steps to secure the data on their printers. This oversight includes the insecure practice of failing to erase internal hard drives on multi-function devices when they are sold.

    Clients should consider systems that require authorisation at the device before they can be collected to greatly improve security.

    4: Not communicating the benefits of Multi-Functional Devices (MFDs)

    Some law firms embrace technological advances while ignoring the human repercussions that may result from the changes. It can be a challenge to get staff to change their behaviour.

    Effective law firms can take these steps to improve the process:

  • Communicate the benefits of MFDs to employees
  • Show how they make jobs easier
  • Demonstrate how they improve efficiency
  • Prove how they lower costs
  • Provide technical training and support.
  • 5: Not reviewing your printing habits and solutions 

    While a completely paperless office is not yet a reality, there are some simple changes a firm can make to greatly reduce printing.

    It is possible to reduce costs by up to one-third for printing through:

  • Training and incentives to change printing behaviour.
  • Intelligent print-retrieval solutions to minimise waste
  • Creating a pull-print environment that requires authorisation

Law firms that learn from these common mistakes can employ improvements in printing and document technology.These changes can lead to reduced costs, reduced waste, improved workflows and increased financial margins.

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