John F Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”. The great Winston Churchill concluded, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”. As an amateur philosopher, I appreciate George Bernard Shaw’s observation that “progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.
During 2020 BC (Before Covid), many law firms were just focused on going paperless and having a clean desktop. But in 2022 AC (After Covid) those same law firms are asking how FileMan can help them manage their digital transformation. I find it fascinating that within two years, the whole legal industry had to change its embedded paper culture to adapt to the new work-from-anywhere phenomenon. Indeed, law firms might one day lead the charge in global digital transformation.
Unfortunately, Benjamin Franklin was on the money when he said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. I understand that during the pandemic, law firms were forced to rapidly change and improvise processes to keep providing their clients with the best service possible. What I can’t understand, is their failure to consider how they are going to mitigate the risks associated with archiving digital documents.
Just last week, I met with a top-tier law firm that had never heard of the ISO 19005-4 requirements for the preservation of digital and scanned documents. There is no guarantee that a digital and/or scanned document will be readable in the future unless you secure and store it in an ISO 19005-4 compliant format. On top of that, you are required to take the same precautions with your digital data as with your paper data. You must ensure your clients’ privacy and you have the same legal obligation to retain their files for the required time, ranging from seven to over fifty years (depending on matter type). But wait, there is more! You also need to permanently redact personally identifiable information if the digital copy is not destroyed. Many law firms like to retain the intellectual property contained in their well-drafted documents for later use.
To keep benefitting from your transformation to a paperless office, your processes must frequently be changed. You will also need to consider mitigating those additional risks associated with the digital storage of data. And finally, you must plan ahead to ensure your client's data is always available. Don’t destroy your paper files – it is your best backup option. Paper, after all, cannot be ransomed.
When adopting the right digital transformation solution for your firm, going paperless will streamline your compliance requirements, save your firm time and money, greatly enhance productivity, and improve client satisfaction.
It is never too late to change your mind on the direction your firm’s digital transformation is taking. Call us today for your free no obligation consultation to learn how you can get all the benefits of going digital (protection and compliance included) but without the costs.
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Authored by John van Rooyen
Global Sales Director, Fileman
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