Can I make a paperless office a reality? (Part I)

For the whole of my career in the law I have had a real interest in IT and how it might be used to improve efficiency for law firms and help them make more profit. Alright, I do also like gadgets, and part of my interest over the years hasn’t had a lot to do with seeking greater profit, but most of it has.

I have been asked many times, given this interest in technology, ‘why don’t you encourage firms to go paperless?’. My answer has always been, that I’m a lawyer myself, our role revolves around paper and technology has not developed sufficiently to persuade me to use a screen rather than a sheaf of papers. There is something about being able to put a couple of fingers in different pages of a lease and flick backwards and forwards as you read through the document. Paper just feels right. Even the touch screen of my iPad, being able to sweep through the pages, didn’t change my mind. Until now…

…Working from home, office in the front hall, I have to satisfy my natural desire for order and tidiness. But that conflicts with paper. Paper is everywhere. My solution? Typical lawyer! Buy another filing cabinet and find a corner to stick it in. Enough’s enough I said to myself, I’m going to crack this and go paperless. Buy some more space on Dropbox and find a way to make it work in my consultancy business. Even make a blog about the experience so that others can benefit. First job: find a scanner. I researched on the web and discovered the size of the market. Fortunately there are plenty of articles, blogs, and commentaries on the subject out there, and I settled on a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 as being perfect for my needs. Prices on the web varied but, surprisingly, PC World were as competitive as anyone. They had a store 15 minutes away, so rather than rely on Christmas deliveries, and to satisfy my impulsive side, I jumped in the car to pick one up. N.B. PC World Business, is not the same thing as PC World/Currys. They have a different web site and don’t carry the same stock! I asked the helpful store staff for scanners and was pointed at a choice of 4 flatbed scanners and not one of them Fujitsu. Eventually I was taken to a desk, had to open a business account, and then they ordered a delivery for me from their web site. Ah well we live and learn. It arrived the next day, and I was able to start my project. (See Part II for the continuation of this blog.)