Once you grasp what a paperless law practice actually is (i.e., curtailing the needless use of paper, not “getting rid of all paper”), then…
you start craving the mind-boggling joys of storing information in digital format (e.g., huge cost savings, being better organized, finding documents quickly and easily), then…
the next question is…
When can I start having a hyper-efficient law practice?
The answer, not surprisingly (since we’re lawyers), is…
Here are the factors that will most influence your rate of adoption.
1. The size of your firm: Size means “how many folks are you sharing documents with?”A solo lawyer with two assistants has three people who need to make the transition.
The more people who have to shift to the new paperless system, the more time it will take. A solo lawyer with no assistants can theoretically make the shift faster than anyone else.
2. The kind of practice you have: The fundamentals of creating a paperless office are the same no matter what kind of practice you have.
But, the nuances of shifting to a paperless practice differ slightly for a state court criminal law practitioner as opposed to an estate planning lawyer. Bankruptcy lawyers are all required to file pleadings in PDF format; most of them should be able to quickly switch over to a paperless practice.
3. Comfort with technology: a solo bankruptcy lawyer should be able to switch pretty quickly, but if he’s not comfortable using his computer it will take a little longer than a lawyer who’s technologically adept. How do you know where you fit into this equation?
If you’re comfortable installing new software on your computer (and updating it), then you’ll probably find it easy to transition to a paperless system. If you’re not then you should hire a technology consultant, but that will add cost and slow things down a bit.
4. Familiarity with PDFs: You probably realize that PDFs are what replaces paper in a paperless practice. So you’ll need to be able to do more with PDFs than just view them.
PDF Skills are Key!
The faster you improve your PDF-handling skills, the sooner you’ll become comfortable handling information in PDF format, as opposed to paper format. You should start by learning the most commonly used PDF skills like, how to zoom, how to rotate sideways pages, and how to highlight important text passages. Those are key skills.
You can do all of those things I just mentioned with the latest edition of Adobe Reader (XI), which is free. Check out “Adobe Reader for Lawyers” which quickly teaches key PDF skills in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step way that busy lawyers will find wickedly effective.
We’ll even include short videos with crisp visual explanations of PDF tasks that commonly arise in day to day law practice. This book is SUPER-USEFUL to any lawyer looking to go paperless.
If you want to get a jump-start on learning to use Adobe Reader to hone your PDF skills, you can get VIP access to the first 3 videos by clicking here.
Better yet: start creating your own paperless law firm with our free jump-start course delivered by email (for FREE). To start shifting to a more organized law practice, where you can easily find any document in a few seconds: