Taking a sustainable approach to running a law firm doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, it can start with the simplest steps – like assessing whether it’s possible to go ‘paper-lite’, or even paperless. Here is how you can leverage technology to build a sustainable firm now, and into the future.
How much do you really need to print?
It’s the easiest thing in the world: you’ve finished drafting a legal document, and you hit ‘print’ so it’s ready for your client to sign. Or you feel like you can’t read from a screen, so you print pages of research to highlight by hand. Law firms are raised in a world of paper, and avoiding printing can be a surprisingly hard habit to break.
Grice Legal senior associate Nicholas Plummer knows this all too well. In fact, his quest against printing is the subject of his Instagram handle, the @paperlesslawyer.
“It was a way to help other lawyers who loathe paper to go paperless, and use technology to streamline and simplify their practice,” he explained.
“For a lot of people, it is a big challenge to go away from using paper at all. If you’re going to use all the technology that’s out there nowadays, you’ve got to move away from paper. It just doesn’t make sense.”
“So, we’re moving towards more ‘paper lite’ operations. For me, it was really beating that muscle memory, and forcing yourself to use content searching to find things. It’s making sure your systems are set up properly, so that everything scanned is OCR (Optimal Character Recognition). OCR scanning allows you to search not only the documents you create, but the documents you’ve received,” he explains.
Of course, going paperless is only possible if you’re supported by good software. LEAP’s legal practice productivity solution is built on the principle of facilitating a streamlined, sustainable law firm – and going paperless is one crucial way it allows this to occur.
Can you share files online?
Half the reason people resort to printing is because they can’t trust sending files by email. With cyber-attacks on the rise, there’s more danger that emails will be compromised. In addition, the sheer volume of emails people receive every day means that even important documents may get missed.
That’s where LawConnect comes in. LawConnect is an exclusive integration with LEAP, and allows law firms to securely share files and invoices online directly from LEAP. It’s one way to avoid printing, as well as reduce turnaround times for clients to view and sign documents online.
Embracing innovations like these helps law firms to become more sustainable.
As LEAP APAC CEO Donna Broadley explains: “The drive for law firms to innovate and remain agile has really never been greater, particularly for firms that want to continue competing effectively.”
“Practically, they’ll need to embrace change and innovation that will not only make them more productive but will in turn benefit their clients too. Staying up to date with developments in innovation and actively engaging in conversations about the way legal services are delivered will be important to this – something doesn’t have to be broken to warrant innovation or improvement.”
How else can your law firm be more sustainable?
Every law firm is different. Law firms who are committed to operating sustainably should assess every aspect of their internal operations, and look for where processes can change, and how technology might assist.
“From a business perspective, firms need to be having regular discussions about how they can capitalise on their technology to effectively compete and grow their businesses,” said LEAP Dev CEO Mark Burgess. “It’s the firms that are proactive and seek out opportunities to innovate that will succeed long term.”