I’ve been in legal tech a long time, longer than I’d care to admit, ok. But I’ve been here long enough for things to make a comeback. You know what I’m talking about – things that are fashionable today were pulled directly out of fashion two or three decades ago; things have a way of coming back.
Ten years ago, my colleagues and I were talking to law firms about the need to digitize their paper documents. Large law firms with multiple offices were dealing with enormous storage costs because of their physical files. This was before distributed work and before outsourcing centralized tasks like scanning were prominently used. So, the only thing urgent enough to motivate partners to invest in digitization strategies was the savings from reduced storage space.
We created a simple ROI analysis – we figured that each attorney had about 250 boxes of physical files that they and their staff dealt with. Average costs of offsite storage being about $3.00 per year per box, we did the math for a 550-attorney firm – $412,500 in offsite storage costs. Yikes.
That got their attention.
But again, at that time, digitization wasn’t the efficient, streamlined workflow that it is today. While this got their attention, the next thing they immediately got was a headache. We had to really sell this! So we took the analysis further and showed how with our solution, scanned paper would be searchable (OCR), increasing productivity of attorneys by 1%. That might not sound like a lot, but with attorneys spending an average 2-3 billable hours at $400 an hour dealing with physical paper, it added up quick.
Fast forward to today and there’s a renewed urgency around digitization as more and more law firms adopt hybrid policies, requiring workflows that enable attorneys and staff to Work From Anywhere. As one of the most paper-intensive industries in the world, hybrid work has transformed the conversation I was having with law firms a decade ago. Increased productivity and savings on reduced office space and storage remain a motivating factor, but progressive law firms are taking a critical look at the environmental impact of their scan and print practices in tandem with their real estate and storage facilities. Less office and storage space means less energy consumption, less need for lighting, heating and air conditioning, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint.
I’m not Mr. Green, but I have daughters, and I care about the future they inherit. That’s why I’m excited about the development of our No Print Server PrintQ, which will help firms navigate the path of reducing the number of their print servers in favor of a more mobile, cloud-based solution that helps eliminate complex-hardware management that comes with multiple print servers.