Solo and Small Practice Trends in the Legal Industry: Paperless Practices

Small-scale legal practices, typically characterized by either solo practices or law firms with 20 lawyers or fewer, often don’t have the same resources of larger law practices. Complexities of scale are clearly at play here, with large firms with larger budgets can potentially outperform smaller private practices Yet despite the fact that smaller firms are so outmatched when it comes to resources — or perhaps because of it — solo and small practices have become incredibly adaptive in order to run with the big dogs.

No one goes into the legal profession if they’re uncomfortable with challenging circumstances. Ingenuity can go a long way, and small-scale practitioners have learned to become agile and efficient in ways that put many larger firms to shame simply because they had no choice if they wanted to succeed. One of the most noteworthy trends to emerge out of small firms’ innovation by necessity is by pivoting away from traditional hard-copy record keeping and replacing it instead with a paperless option that saves on space, time, and money.

Modern Document Management

Paperless record keeping systems have grown up alongside professional business sectors. Thanks to the connectivity that’s driven the development of the internet, cloud computing, smart devices, and more, it’s becoming increasingly easy to store, organize, and retrieve documents digitally, all without having to rely on voluminous filing cabinets or endless photocopies. The costs associated with archived digital records is also just a fraction of what it would cost to safeguard physical copies, and the time spent managing these digital collections is also minuscule compared to sending someone to an off-site storage facility to locate a specific file that’s been archived for decades.

Paperless practices are further supported by the same technologies that enabled paperless document management in the first place. Mobile document capturing technologies have become commonplace when it comes to legal professionals working in the field; whether it’s a netbook, a tablet, or even a mobile phone, these devices can and do work in tandem with portable handheld scanners designed for document capture, making it easier than ever to work with legal documents while out of the office. Meanwhile, mobile connectivity ensures that these documents are stored in ways that ensure they are universally accessible.

Filing and Serving the Paperless Way

Even facets of the legal industry that are completely dependent on paper copies have seen a positive impact as a result of paperless technologies. Both court document filing and process of service have been streamlined by digital document management techniques. A prime example of this is how Rapid Legal offers paperless workflow systems that save law firms of all sizes time, effort, and legal fees.

Rapid Legal’s eFile-compliant system makes it possible for lawyers in California to directly upload digital versions of court documents that would otherwise have to be sent via courier to the court clerk. These files are then reviewed for errors before being transmitted electronically to a court that accepts electronic filing or printed and hand-delivered to courts who do not. Rapid Legal also enables process of service across the entirety of the United States through electronic means, relying on the same digital document transmission technologies.

Yet one thing remains clear: whether you use paperless technologies to manage your firm’s own documents or you use a support service to file court documents electronically on your behalf, you’re reaping the rewards of a paperless practice.With the benefits that going paperless provides to law firms, it’s only a matter of time before everyone has relegated hard copies to the dustbin of history.