More than a year out from the pandemic, many legal firms have adopted new technology to ensure access to critical communications and documentation, which makes sense since, during 2020, 87% of legal firms were operating remotely—at least in some capacity.
As we transition back into more typical working conditions, estimates indicate that a remote workforce is still holding fast at 25% and will continue to grow. Now is the time to ensure that your technology infrastructure positions you to manage work in an unquestionably changed business reality.
When urgency and access to documentation are essential, the most impactful place to kick off digital transformation strategies and processes is where content flows into your firm: the mailroom.
Let’s discuss four ways digital mailroom processes enhance content-gathering using cloud capture, automated data extraction, document workflow, and cloud fax technologies to ensure secure, universal access to content.
Grab that content faster
Across industries, more than 70% of invoices arrive as paper documents in the mail. And that’s just accounting. What about time-sensitive case documentation, client communications, depositions, and beyond? Most legal firms rely on the mailroom to handle items arriving via USPS, FedEx, UPS, and couriers. The challenge is ensuring timely delivery, and that’s where many firms hit a communications snag: mail continues to come in, but without digital processes, it’s difficult to reliably get it to attorneys and staff working in various offices or from remote locations.
Digitizing the mailroom organizes critical content, grabs vital data points, and quickly sends it to the right place. Staff has secure, immediate access to essential documents and communications using authenticated routing. Legal teams can collaborate more efficiently by setting destination rules for multiple recipients based on keywords.
No more “grab and go” mailboxes. They increase the risk of exposing sensitive or confidential content, data loss, and misfiling or misrouting documents or communications. No more tedious “yellow folder” deliveries—just no-nonsense accessibility. In the end, all of this improves project turnaround times and, in turn, provides your customers with a fantastic experience. You can imagine the benefits here are huge.
Quickly locate the info you need
The volume and velocity of information that flows in and out of legal firms continue to grow. That means that profiling captured content is mission-critical to enable staff to access current or archived matter-centric case content quickly.
Most legal firms store their information in ECM and DMS systems such as iManage or NetDocuments. However, not all firms can easily search and retrieve content because they don’t have the right resources—such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR)—in place to profile captured information effectively.
OCR functionality unlocks the information trapped in paper documents and eliminates the manual process of capturing, profiling, and storing data. Once a document is scanned, it can be automatically classified and associated with relevant files for fast recall. By digitizing at the point of capture, your firm can boost productivity and ensure the integrity of the information you have, which helps you remain competitive and increase billable productivity.
Send it wherever it should go
Digital transformation isn’t just about going “paper light” anymore. Our increasingly mobile, remote working reality quickly replaces traditional paper-based document handling with digital capture, access, and collaboration. When accessibility, productivity, and wasted billable hours become issues, business suffers. But more importantly, the burden of paper processes hurts your firm’s ability to respond to client needs efficiently.
Digitizing the mailroom gives you flexibility. Documents are immediately accessible by staff within existing applications, systems, or even via email and cloud fax right to their inbox. Digitization means time saved, and expectations exceeded. Reliable access to business-critical documents means faster project turnaround times, more empowered and productive employees, and an overall better customer experience. Bottom line, increased accessibility gives your staff more time to focus on billable hours and more high-value work.
Archive and recall, no problem
When it boils down to it, digitizing the content you have is all about ensuring reliable access to your attorneys and legal staff. The digital mailroom creates secure avenues for critical documentation and communications to land right in the hands of the staff members who need it, from their offi8ce, home desktop, or even their mobile device. What’s more, the ability to quickly access archived case files, current case supporting documentation, and more with just a few clicks is a massive boon for billable hours and improved service to clients. A digital mailroom can make these capabilities a reality
2020 pushed many organizations to the brink, but those that adapted well did so because they fast-tracked the implementation of digital transformation technology into their arsenal to conquer daily tasks and ensure business continuity. If you’re one of the firms that still rely on legacy processes and the manual paper shuffle, it’s time to ask yourself objectively: how are you and your staff faring in this new business climate? Are you empowered to succeed given the technology you have?
This quote stuck with me this year, “The software that enabled us to survive 2020 was in the cloud, and the software of the future will continue to be in the cloud.[i]” The time to transition is now, but implementing cloud technology is a journey. Start at the inception point—the mailroom— and create realistic goals to expand cloud capabilities to other areas within your firm. By taking on the transition, you will ensure that your technology can meet any challenge, so your firm can continue to thrive in the future.
Upland AccuRoute offers scalable capabilities for law firms to better manage cloud-based capture and enterprise fax solutions, with the result of making smart digital transformation strategies more realistic to put into practice farther down the line. The digital mailroom is just the tip of the iceberg. To kick off your digital transformation efforts with more comprehensive strategies to bring your processes into the digital era, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Cummings is the EVP and General Manager for the Document Workflow and PITM Product suites at Upland Software. She has spent more than 25 years helping organizations to implement innovative technology solutions to boost efficiencies, facilitate better processes, and increase their bottom line.
This article was originally published in ILTA’s Quarterly Peer to Peer Magazine on July 30, 2021. View the full magazine here.
- Survey Results: Lawyers and Legal Technology in 2020, by Nicole Black of MyCase blog
- 20 For 2020: The Legal Tech Trends that Defined the Year, by Bob Ambrogi of LawSites blog