DESPITE A move towards a ‘paperless office’ in many industries, the legal sector is one where paper-based records remain an important element in most day-to-day business operations. It makes sense. Traditionally, documents have been the lifeblood of the legal sector, providing solid reference material for a variety of purposes.
As advances in technology make way for more safe and secure digital documentation archiving and retrieval infrastructure, one question remains: can digital legal documents meet the same evidentiary requirements as paper documents? Electronic documents can be tampered with, potentially without trace, and this puts them at a disadvantage.
However, much of today’s digital document handling technology comes with enterprise-level security and authorisation features that can keep information much safer than if it were being held only as physical copies.
While digital files can be tampered with, paper files can easily go missing. Digital documents, on the other hand, will usually be backed up safely and securely.
There are other upsides. As the legal industry makes changes to accommodate broader changes in the digital economy, it makes more sense to use digital documents where possible. Keeping and using electronic information can reduce the cost of storage and dramatically reduce the time and resources spent on managing documents.
Ultimately, the best way to go, in terms of costs and security, is to use technology that makes the most of both hard copy and digital document forms. Workflow management systems that incorporate hard copy document data capture and printing, for example, are a great example of technology that offers the best of both worlds.
Document data capture technology alone can make a big difference, as it not only helps to quickly catalogue files, it extracts the important information for quick and easy referencing further down the track.
This way, firms can have easy access to digital files and the detailed information in them whenever they need, while still having the option of keeping the hard copy version of documents on hand if circumstances call for them.
Finding and accessing relevant documents, especially in an industry sector that is so heavily reliant on documentation, can be a major cost for firms, with time taken away from other valuable activities. This makes document workflow management technology a potential revenue stream for law firms.
The ability to use workflow technology to track, capture, and assign document- based expenses as they occur means costs can be accurately allocated to a specific task and billed to a client. It also makes these tasks billed more transparent to the client.
Documents may continue to be the lifeblood of the legal profession, but clearly some flexibility is creeping in around how they are managed. The legal industry now has options open to it, and with the right business partner, can remove a large part of the traditional document management burden
For more information, visit the Konica Minolta website at konicaminolta.com.au/legal
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