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How to Create & Maintain The Paperless Law Office
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How to Create & Maintain The Paperless Law Office

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Are you tired of stacks of papers creating clutter and slowing you down when looking for specific documents? Transitioning to a paperless law office can alleviate these pains and reduce stress in your …

Are you tired of stacks of papers creating clutter and slowing you down when looking for specific documents? Transitioning to a paperless law office can alleviate these pains and reduce stress in your work environment – it can also create leverage. That’s why we brought in well known attorney and author, Ernest Svenson (aka “Ernie the Attorney“), to explain how to make the switch.

Here are slides from his presentation.

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  • 1. Welcome! The Paperless Law Office Webinar Will Begin in a Few Minutes
  • 2. About MyCase MyCase Legal Practice Management Software MyCase is the premier web-based legal practice management software. Built as a complete platform, MyCase offers features that seamlessly cover all the daily functions that a modern, small law firm requires in one place at an affordable price. Just $39/month per attorney ! $29/month per paralegal or staff
  • 3. About MyCase MyCase Websites •Modern and professional design built for your firm! •Social media and blog integration! •Complete integration with MyCase practice management software
  • 4. How to Cr eate & Maintain Paperless The Law Office Ernie Svenson
  • 5. Ernie Svenson ‣EDLA Law Clerk ‣Practiced law 27 yrs ‣ErnieTheAttorney.net ‣“Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers” (ABA book) ‣PaperlessChase.com ‣ernie@paperlesschase.com
  • 6. Paper less sin ce 2005
  • 7. 3  Phases 1. Contemplation   2. Implementation   3. Optimization 9
  • 8. Poll  Question  #2 What  best  describes  your  paperless   state  now? 10
  • 9. Contemplation You  may  be  surprised  to  learn  you’re  already  on  your  way 11
  • 10. Common  Questions • Am  I  ready  to  go  paperless?   • How  hard?  Expensive?   • Need  to  hire  a  consultant?   • Convince  staff  &  lawyers?   • Possible  in  my  practice  area?   • Isn’t  it  impossible  to  be  totally  paperless? 12
  • 11. Define  “paperless” forget  definitions;  focus  on  benefits • No  paper:  impossible,  silly,   self-­‐defeating   • Reasonable:  “less  paper”   • Focus  on  benefits,  not  rigid   definitions 13
  • 12. Key  Questions be  realistic  about  the  true  challenges • How  much  less  paper?   • How  quickly  to  reduce?   • What  process  should  you  follow?   • What  benefits  do  you  most  want? 14
  • 13. How  much  less? depends  on  factors  such  as… • how  much  paper  you  have  now   • where  it’s  being  stored  now   (onsite,  offsite?)   • How  much  can  or  should  be   digitized 15
  • 14. How  quickly? depends  on  factors  such  as… • how  many  people  in  your  firm   • how  much  paper  you  have  now   • your  folks’  technology  skills   • commitment  to  act  (not  just  plan) 16
  • 15. What  process? The  ideal  path  should  be… • The  simplest  &  easiest   • Minimally  disruptive   • Tried  &  true  (by  lawyers)   • Reliable;  likely  to  succeed 17
  • 16. Which  benefits? Keep  in  mind  the  things  you  most  want  to  attain • Organization  &  efficiency   • Information  retrieval   • Remote  access  to  files 19
  • 17. Benefits  Summary reasons  why  digital  documents  are  better • Easier  to  store,  retrieve     • Cheaper  to  store   • Oversight  is  possible   • Access  from  anywhere  (e.g.  iPad)   • Backup  &  remote  synchronization 20
  • 18. Some  downsides it’s  true:  paper  is  easier  in  certain  situations • Easier  to  reorder  pages   • Easier  to  browse  certain  kinds  of   information   • Easier  to  read  (but  eInk  technology  is   changing  this)   • Need  to  practice  “digital  hygiene” 21
  • 19. Poor  excuses Bad  reasons  to  dismiss  becoming  paperless • E-­‐filing  isn’t  allowed   • Judge  requires  paper  in  court   • My  practice  isn’t  conducive  to   being  paperless   • Other  attorneys  send  me  paper 22
  • 20. Ethics  issues aren’t  an  impediment,  but  require  attention • Rule  1.1:  competence   • ABA  20/20:  tech  requires  attention   • But  what  about  wills  and   promissory  notes  etc.?   • Create  a  good  engagement  letter 23
  • 21. Engagement  letter should  make  it  clear  to  the  client  that… • You’ll  scan  all  files  to  PDF   • You’ll  destroy  all  paper  you  receive   • You’ll  only  keep  digital  files  for  X  years  (but   actually  keep  longer)   • You’ll  give  client  digital  copy  upon  written   request  (via  digital  download)   • Engagement  letter  is  valid  in  PDF  format 24
  • 22. Implementation Is  mostly  about  building  momentum  and  avoiding  catastrophes 25
  • 23. Getting  Started Is  not  as  hard  as  you’d  expect,  because: • You’ve  already  started,  so…   • Build  momentum  steadily   • Use  consultants  for  “digital   hygiene”  &  training. 27
  • 24. Keys  to  Success grab  low-­‐hanging  fruit  &  avoid  land  mines • Tackle  the  easy  stuff  first   • Avoid  premature  (or   unnecessary)  challenges   • Use  consultants  appropriately 28
  • 25. Two  Principles to  keep  in  mind  as  you  steadily  move  forward 1. Keep  digital  things  digital   2. Make  paper  into  digital 29
  • 26. Keep  it  digital Is  not  as  hard  as  you’d  expect • Don’t  print  emails   • “Print  to  PDF”  more  often   • Capture  faxes  to  PDF   • Think  digital  at  all  times 30
  • 27. Make  it  digital is  your  first  small  challenge • Buy  the  right  scanner(s)   • Use  often;  get  familiar   • Send  out  large  jobs  to  scanning   services  where  appropriate Fujitsu iX500 31
  • 28. Make digital
  • 29. PDFs ‣widespread use (in law too) ‣“portable document format” ‣think: ‘digital paper’ ‣learn: how to manipulate them
  • 30. Adobe Acrobat Professional $409 Standard $289
  • 31. Key  PDF  Skills • Create  PDFs  from  Word,  Excel…   • Zoom,  Jump  to  Page,  Rotate   • Bookmark,  Highlight,  Comment   • Search  PDF,  or  group  of  PDFs   • Bates-­‐stamp  &  Redact   • Digitally  sign  a  PDF 35
  • 32. Acrobat Book
  • 33. Consultants optional,  helpful,  or  mandatory? • Optional:  for  the  easy  stuff   • Helpful:  for  digital  hygiene  and   software  training   • Mandatory:  for  major  challenges  like   setting  up  a  DMS,  or  if  firm  is  large 38
  • 34. Implementation  Costs Summary Equipment  &  Tools Stuff  you  need,  or  should,  buy Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Cost $409 Adobe Acrobat: Professional $413 (Adobe Acrobat: Standard) ($289) Book: Acrobat for Lawyers $50 Tips: PDF for Lawyers.com Free Tips: PaperlessChase.com Free 39
  • 35. Optimization 40
  • 36. Document  Mgt Key  questions  ask  in  deciding  how  to  manage • How  big  is  your  law  firm?   • How  many  attorneys?  How   many  users?   • How  many  separate  offices? 41
  • 37. Digital  Workflow how  will  you  work  in  a  less  paper-­‐centric  world? • Start  with  a  simple  model   • Refine  based  on  need  &  real   world  experiences   • Continue  refining  as  new   technologies  are  adopted 42
  • 38. Current  System How  do  you  manage  digital  files  right  now? 43
  • 39. Doc  Mgt  101 nested  folders special  software • Phase  1:  Nested  folders   • Phase  2:  DMS  software 44
  • 40. Two  Phases Ordinary Folders Special DMS Software Jones v. Smith Hawkins v. Magee Kramer v. Kramer Masters v. Johnson Jarndyce v. Jarndyce Bushmill v. Gored Fordham v. Chevy Thompkins v. Carr 45
  • 41. Simple folders
  • 42. Crown v. Royal 01 Pleadings 02 Correspondence 03 Documents 04 Word Processing 05 Depositions 06 Legal Research 07 Attorney Notes 08 Trial Documents
  • 43. Simple file names [Date] [Description]
  • 44. [Date] [Description] 2014-02-27 Motion for Summary Judgment… 2014/02/27 Motion for Summary Judgment… 2014_02_27 Motion for Summary Judgment… 2014.02.27 Motion for Summary Judgment…
  • 45. 01 Pleadings 2009-01-01 Original Complaint 2009-01-08 Summons to … 2009-02-15 Return on Service 2009-03-02 Extension Request 2009-04-02 Answer by Defend.. 2009-07-17 Motion for Summary 2009-08-01 Opposition to MSJ 2009-10-19 Order granting….
  • 46. 02 Correspondence 2008-02-13 EES ltr K Smith 2008-02-01 K Smith email EES 2008-01-04 Thompson fax EES 2007-12-14 Chisom ltr EES 2007-11-11 Ward fax Counsel 2007-10-16 EES ltr Marion 2007-09-23 EES ltr Feinberg 2007-08-08 Mangione ltr EES
  • 47. Problems nested  folders  are  simple  but… • Deletion:  someone  makes  a  mistake.     • Conflicts:  two  people  access  at  same  time;  now   we  have  2  versions.   • Version  control:  which  version  is  the  last  one  we   worked  on?   • Email:  how  do  we  put  emails  into  the  nested   folders?   • Naming  convention:  not  everyone  is  adhering  to   the  system  for  naming  files  and  folders 52
  • 48. Firm  Size More  than  3  -­‐  5  users:  time  for  DMS 53
  • 49. DMS  Software Leading  “Document  Management  Systems” 54
  • 50. Benefits DMS  imposes  organization • Forced  save:  have  to  save  to  the  system,  and  have   to  profile  document  to  an  open  matter     • Conflicts:  are  no  longer  possible.   • Version  control:  system  automatically  creates  and   keeps  track  of  versions   • Email:  can  be  saved  to  DMS,  and  shared  with   everyone  as  needed.   • PDFs:  can  handle  storage  &  manipulation   • Remote  access:  pull  files  from  outside  of  office 55
  • 51. Bottom  Line regarding  DMS  systems • You  can  now  afford  it   • You  almost  certainly  need   it  now  (or  soon)   • You  may  need  a  consultant   to  help  you 56
  • 52. Wrap  Up Things  you  can  work  on  now  to  build  momentum 57
  • 53. Summary Equipment  &  Tools Stuff  you  need,  or  should,  buy Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Cost $409 Adobe Acrobat: Professional $413 (Adobe Acrobat: Standard) ($289) Book: Acrobat for Lawyers $50 Tips: PDF for Lawyers.com Free Tips: PaperlessChase.com Free 58
  • 54. 5  Takeaways the  best  keys  to  getting  started  now 59
  • 55. 60
  • 56. ernie@ernestsvenson.com If you have questions feel free to email me Interested in MyCase?! www.MyCase.com! www.MyCase.com/blog! Get 10% off your first 6 months ! with MyCase for attending.! Use promo code: PAPER14 63
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