In his July Lawyers USA column, our good friend Jim Calloway strongly encourages law firms to move away from paper files to digital files, and provides seven compelling reasons to make the move now. I’ve been an advocate of this too, but not as strongly or cogently as Jim puts forth in his column. Definitely worth the read.
From my experience, the main reason law firms don’t make the move to digital is that their computer files are often messier than their paper files. They just don’t have a standardized methodology to name, store, and retrieve documents when they need them. And firms that have instituted a file naming and storing protocol within their firm can get sloppier over time, and then abandon it as staff turnover and lack of training can come into play.
Standardization is a pain in the neck to many lawyers, but as Jim’s column points out, times are changing and we need to move with the changes or become irrelevant to clients. Now is the time to commence or restart your document naming and storage protocol within your firm. If your protocol is working well, still take time to make sure each person in for office is fully trained and in compliance.
If you need help establishing a protocol, here is an excellent article by fellow ABA TECHSHOW Board member and Ontario lawyer, Donna Neff, that takes you through step by step. The ABA’s Site-tation blog also lists some excellent resources too.