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The case of the legal sector vs digitisation

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Peter Shackleton, Commercial End User Sales Manager at Brother UK, outlines the opportunity for resellers targeting the legal sector, and how law firms can improve productivity, security and customer service with digital workflows

Digitisation has often been a bugbear among law firms. But despite the legal sector witnessing one of the greatest periods of tech adoption over the last two years, the permanent move to hybrid working has highlighted gaps still exist – particularly when it comes to document management.

There is work to do. Improvement is still needed to make IT systems as productive and secure as possible – client confidentiality remains the priority. And many businesses in the sector will need to prioritise new efficiencies to avoid other unnecessary squeezes on finances as inflationary pressures bite.

Here lies an opportunity for resellers.

Ensuring continuity of service

The important, and often highly sensitive documents that are needed day-to-day must be accessible from anywhere. They are no use to lawyers, paralegals and administrators when they are working at home or a distance from the office.

These documents need converting into PDF files and stored in the practice’s case management system located on the server, which means they can be accessed easily by authorised employees from any location and provided continuity of service. Digitisation isn’t just a quick-fix solution to a sudden problem that law firms faced; it should be treated as a longer-term opportunity to embrace genuine transformation with tangible benefits.

And these networks need to have significant longevity and allow for an archival system that can reliably call up information from any location with little time wasted on searching where to find documents.

Speed, accuracy and security

Scan speed is just one part of the equation. New solutions on the market – including the Brother ADS4 range – are capable of delivering scan speeds of up to 60 pages a minute, have the capacity for 100 sheets at a time for large case files and have longer daily duty cycles of up to 9,000 pages.

Tasks that once took back-office staff many hours of hard work, such as handling the paperwork for high volumes of lease agreements or trawling hundreds of volumes of case law for relevant precedents, can now be completed quickly, improving practices’ overall productivity and reducing time spent on admin and non-billable hours.

But the vast majority of information being handled by legal practices is confidential, so security and accuracy within networks is of the highest priority.

Manual scanning processes create more room for human error – such as misplacing documents or sending them to the wrong person – that can be costly and even cause reputational damage.

Automating scanning process and implementing Secure Document Management (SDM) is therefore a vital consideration to make because it ensures digital documents end up in the correct location, so they never get into the wrong hands.

Implementing Barcode Utility – from providers like Kofax – is one of the first steps to take. It provides scanners with the ability to recognise what the content on the page is and who it relates to – usually via a barcode or QR code on the page.

Once the marked document is scanned, it’s automatically filtered and sent to the intended recipient along a secure network, preventing interception and error.

Artificial intelligence also means that once these documents are scanned in and tagged, they become part of an automated workflow and are stored in the right archive or database automatically.

Alongside confidentiality, it also represents a new approach to streamlining a business. Once the infrastructure is set up, modularity takes over, meaning you can add additional pathways to new points of contact and scale to the needs of the business, no matter its size.

Adding value

The challenge is there is no one-size-fits- all. Each business will need a solution that’s slightly different, which means resellers have a real opportunity to work closely with customers to add meaningful value, not just on the products they use, but across the whole digital workflow.

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