One of the “hidden” costs for law firms relates to hard-copy client files; not only do they have to pay for file covers, plastic folders, dividers, tags, paper and filing cabinets, etc., at the start and throughout the life of a transaction, but they also have to pay costs when the transaction has been completed and the files go into archive.
Subject to how firms create and manage their client files during a transaction, costs could vary considerably, for example, some firms will use 4 drawer filing cabinets, whereas others will have specific file rooms with expensive moveable storage doors, but here is an indication of the costs many high street firms will be incurring:
- File covers - £10.99 (50)
- Dividers - £0.99p (10 part)
- Plastic covers - £4.99 (100)
- Suspension folders - £12.79 (20)
- 4 drawer cabinet - £199
So once a transaction has been completed, what additional costs are many firms having to incur; here is a typical example?
- Storage boxes - £19.99 (10)
- Box storage - £4.41 per year
- Call out of a file - £12.00
- Delivery - £2.00 per file
- Shredding by storage facility - £2.30 per file, plus call-out fee
- Shredding by firm - £14.00 per file
It can clearly be seen that the cost of running, archiving and shredding paper files can be substantial depending on how a firm operates, but taking account of all the above costs being applied to 1,000 files being opened, archived, and shredded each year, with each file being taken out of archive once and the same number being shredded as part of a rolling destruction programme, the costs would come to just short of £40,000 per year; this does not take account of the costs of office space required to store live files!
With Covid-19 putting so many financial pressures on firms, and lockdowns creating problems in accessing files for various purposes, including responding to data protection subject access requests and client complaints, why spend money and face inconvenience when there is another cost effective solution, namely moving to a paper-less operation?
With Access Legal having the ability to provide firms with web-based case management systems that can be accessed and managed from anywhere, a cost-effective solution is just a call or email away!
So, what can our case management and accounting systems do to help you?
Manage incoming post more effectively
You may take the step to becoming a paperless office, but not everyone will be as modern and forward-thinking as you. So you are still likely to receive mail in the post. How do you manage this?
This is especially an issue with most people now working from home.
You can’t expect fee earners to return to the office during a pandemic just to collect their post and email is inefficient and unreliable.
But the DPS Post Office system allows a single person in the office to scan the post in and have it distributed to the appropriate fee earner, group or supervisor within the DPS Spitfire practice management system. Spitfire is a fully browser-based software package, so your fee earners can access and action their post from any device, wherever they are, forwarding it on to whoever needs it and attaching it to the appropriate client case file.
Keep a fully electronic file
With a fully electronic case file, you and your fee earners have access to all documents from your web browser. This is dependent on security settings of course, as with an electronic file, you can restrict who has access to that file.
But that’s not all. With an electronic file, you can also easily find the documents you’re looking for, with a helpful on screen preview in seconds. With the global document search, you can find any document on the system by searching for terms used within the document.
The global document search doesn’t just search through documents though. Alongside the usual Word and PDF files, it will also search through the content of emails (yes, your emails are integrated and automatically recorded on the case file) and attachments to those emails.
These search results are returned instantly, with search terms highlighted, from where you can then move documents if added to the wrong file, open the document to edit, open the case file, or even send the document on to a client or third party.
Send documents and forms digitally
Sending documents digitally is a much more time and cost efficient way to deliver documents. Gone are the days of printing, signing, scanning or posting, as now the whole process can be done digitally.
From the document or letter creation, which takes mere moments as they are automatically populated with data you already hold on the system, to signing the document and then sending; this can all be done in just a few clicks.
If you need to sign a document, there’s now no need to print, sign and scan. You can now attach an electronic signature. Password protected, of course, so only authorised people can sign, you can apply your own personal signature, a company signature or the company stamp before sending.
If you need the client or a third party to sign, you can use our Adobe Sign or Docusign integrations to send the document. Once signed from the other party’s phone, tablet or computer, you both instantly receive a copy of the signed document, with a copy stored on the case file.
But perhaps the best way of sharing documents is via our client portal, MyLegalSpace (MLS) and companion app, SafeChat. MLS and SafeChat give you the freedom to send documents securely, where the client has round the clock access. From there, they can complete forms for you, which, once completed, are then stored on the case file and update the data on your system. Your clients can also track their case and contact the fee earner on their case, all from their mobile phone.
There are many ways that Spitfire can help you to go paperless and therefore save costs, become more efficient, flexible and secure. We discussed a number of them in our webinar, ‘How to Achieve a Paperless Office’, which you can watch for free here.
To learn more about how we can help legal firms, join our upcoming webinar on How to handle enquiries, opportunities and auto-onboard clients or get in touch with our legal specialists to see the software in action.