Tools Law Firms Use In a Paperless Office
We published a Paperless Law Office E-Book which includes Paperless Law Office: Essential Systems (and Tools). But during related "paperless office" presentations over the past year, the same question kept popping up: Can you recommend brands of the tools that law firms use? In other words, what's the best scanner or shredder to get? I've gotten lots of feedback and here's a list of recommended tools from law firms that have gone paperless.
You'll be shredding lots of paper as you convert to digital and there are lots of shreddres to chose from. Fellowes 450Ms 7-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder with SafeSense comes highly recommended. You may consider outsourcing your shredding but do your due diligence. See what one such company, Iron Mountain, advises: What Every Law Firm Needs to Know About Shredding (*But May Not Think to Ask).
Suggestions were split between the popular Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive for storing documents. The Evernote faithful gave their two cents though it is mostly used for note taking. NetDocuments which saw a 250% new legal customer increase in 2015 also came highly recommended. Amazon Web Services is starting to make some waves for its affordable pricing, flexibility, and security measures. Of course, if you already use a cloud-based practice management system, you're set with unlimited document storage.
The top three more frequently cited apps are Evernote, Microsoft's OneNote, and Google Docs. There are tons of other options but you're pretty set with these. Many use Google Docs along with either Evernote or OneNote.
The more digital tools you have, the more passwords you have to remember. Create secure passwords, and for heavens sake, don't write them down. Use a password manager. 1Password is one of the top recommendations. I've used it for years and it's one of my indispensable tools. Dashlane and LastPass are two other popular options.
You'll need at least two monitors when you go digital so you can pull up a document or video or whatever you want to reference in the project you're currently working on. It's essential. It increases productivity and eliminates the frustration of switching between tabs or screens. Monitor options are plentiful and inexpensive. You can get a good Dell or Acer 21-24 inch monitor for under $200 at your local electronic store.
Firms also spring for Adobe Acrobat Pro. No paperless office is complete without it. See: Going Paperless – Adobe Acrobat Tips and Tricks.
This is an ongoing conversation. As feedback comes in from more law firms, I'll update the post. Suggestions are welcome in the comments below.
Finally, We have put together a good read about 'Creating a Useful File Naming Protocol and Structure', this blog post would give you some good tips and tricks to eliminate paper as well, remember eliminating paper would reduce your firm's cost significantly too.