From paper to pixels: Paper LESS office works, not paperless

Issue April 2010

by Bill Archambeault

Ross L. Kodner, the senior legal technologist and CEO at MicroLaw in Milwaukee, doesn't care what law firms do with their paper documents. The notion of eliminating all of a firm's paper files is ludicrous, he said, if only because courts, government agencies and other firms will always insist on using paper.

"I think the concept of the paperless office is a great lie," he said.

Kodner just wants lawyers to rely on digital files as their primary records system instead of paper. He recommended scanning everything in order to have a complete file and to cut down on confusion of what does and doesn't need to be scanned.

Wasting time looking for records is not just inefficient, it's ethically questionable if clients are paying lawyers to waste half an hour or an hour searching for documents when everything could be organized in a digital filing system.

"It's not fair to pass on our inefficiencies to our clients," he said.

Kodner highlighted certain software and equipment - like a Fujitsu scanner that costs the same as comparable models but comes with software for converting documents into Adobe PDFs, around a $200 value - that would help firms large and small make the transition.

He also pointed out mistakes he's seen firms make, like one at which 525 letters were saved as "Letter 1," "Letter 2," and so on.