Should My Real Estate Law Firm Go Paperless?
If you’ve been debating whether or not it’s worth it to take your law firm into the realm of paperless offices, you’re not alone. Running a paper-based office taxes manpower, space, and your budget, but many attorneys have doubts as to whether the effort and cost to convert will really bring a significant return on investment, and whether it’s feasible and safe to go paperless.
- Greater Cost Reductions Than You May Expect – Most people who run an office-based business of any kind give little thought to the actual costs of using paper, because until recently, there has been no viable alternative, so no matter what it cost, we were all going to run paper-based offices. An average American office worker – one individual worker! – uses about 10,000 sheets of paper a year, and 45 percent of all paper printed in offices end up in the recycle bin or trash by the end of the day. In addition to the paper itself, the cost of storing that paper is surprisingly high. A four-drawer file cabinet holds between 10,000 and 12,000 sheets of paper and occupies about 9 square feet of the floor space you pay for. Every dozen files cabinets, on average, requires the labor of another employee to maintain them, and at the current average growth rate, companies are doubling the amount of paper they store every 3.3 years. Counting the paper and blank forms, labor, and floor space, each file cabinet represents average costs of about $1,500 a year. How many file cabinets are in your offices?
- Improved Efficiency Across The Board – Digital documents are much harder to lose than paper ones, if for no other reason than that a properly designed paperless system will include both on-site and off-site backups, either in cloud-based storage, or a physical off-site storage facility. Retrieving documents for reference is much faster with digital records, and everyone who needs to access those files will get an up-to-date copy when they pull the record up. It’s easier to keep colleagues on the same page as they collaborate on digital documents. Everything from business development to billing to case files and required filings are completed faster and more accurately when your practice runs on a paperless system with single data entry to reduce labor and cut down the number of opportunities for human error.
- Better Security & Remote Access – Colleagues, clients, and anyone else who is authorized to access documents can be granted secure access from their desktops, laptops, tablet, and phones with verified device and user access protocols. Parties to your transactions get easy access at any time of day and almost any location, while potential hackers are left in the dark, with no way to steal confidential information they could use to scam your clients or your firm.
Plan Ahead For A Smooth Transition To A Paperless Law Firm
Moving your real estate law firm from paper to digital will take a committed effort, but with advanced planning, you can minimize the disruption to everyone’s workflow and ensure that your records are safely digitized and stored for more convenient future use. You’ll begin reaping the benefits immediately, and well into the future.