Scan and Shred Closed Matters

As part of our series on enterprise scanning initiatives, DocSolid summarizes five different approaches that our customers have used successfully, to get started and grow serious scanning across the organization. The fourth of these Scanbition Frameworks is called ‘Scan and Shred Closed Matters.’

This framework is based on an initial goal of eliminating long term records storage costs, and establishing Records as the place to start enterprise scanning competency. Using the Scan and Shred Closed Matters framework, a firm scans inactive matter files instead of sending them to offsite storage. Firms get a quantified payback by cutting off the growing cost and risk of offsite records storage, and establish a ‘scanning muscle’ that enables gradual migration to integrated DMS scanning for active matters.

When matters are closed, practice areas review and send corresponding paper files to Records. Records profiles and scans to the DMS all inserts (folders) in the matter Redweld (expanding file). Documents and document groupings are OCR’d to create searchable PDF files. An extensive QC process ensures accurate image capture and storage as archived files in the DMS. Records policy is applied and the paper documents are scheduled for destruction, not boxed for offsite storage. Any subsequent retrievals from the inactive records base are serviced by DMS image retrieval of the scanned files.

Scanning matters after they close does not extend the digital advantage into the active lifecycle of the matter. But once the system is in place and operating well, moving the scan workflow to capture just-arrived documents to the DMS is easier, so gradual migration of scanning from the back office to the front office can fit into a firm’s paper-to-digital culture and adoption patterns.

Scanning closed matters, year one, is going to be more expensive in labor than year-one offsite box storage. But over the years, scanning closed matters will provide a substantial cost reduction compared to the perennial, mounting cost of box records storage. DocSolid’s studies show that the 10-year total cost (labor, supplies, storage / retrieval / retirement fees) of storing a box of records is about $50. Of course that cost gets much higher for storage beyond 10 years, and most firms are storing their records for longer than 10 years, with no operating plan to fix this. Total cost to scan a box consists primarily of labor costs, which are about $30 per box. Therefore, a gradual, then significant payback for scanning can be achieved, both in hard dollars and in bigtime risk reduction, and digital advantage. DocSolid will publish a whitepaper on the cost comparisons between scanning and box storage.

Importantly, DocSolid’s customers who use the Scan and Shred Closed Matters approach consistently flex their developed scanning muscle and begin capturing incoming paper during the active lifecycle of the matter. This lowers the cost of scanning and provides a significant ROI improvement by providing digital advantage during the active lifecycle of the matter. Both active and retired scanning workflows land profiled, searchable PDF images in the DMS. Scan and Shred Closed Matters is the way to start enterprise scanning, establish a scan / capture / QC / destruction competency, financial payback, and advanced retention / destruction best practices.

Lindquist & Vennum, a 200 attorney firm in Minneapolis, spent a year refining physical records policies and practices, and implementing a Scan and Shred Closed Matters solution using KwikTag Legal. The firm virtually eliminated its habit of sending 150 boxes a month to offsite storage. CIO Suzette Allaire then began enabling her active file enterprise scan capture for the practice areas who want it now. Lindquist & Vennum is on the road to a future free from the high cost and burden of paper.

Baker McKenzie, a 4,000 attorney firm based in Chicago, has implemented a Scan and Shred Closed Matters approach in their New York office. They have nearly eliminated their flow of boxes to offsite storage, reducing  expense , risk and inefficiencies. Randy Drakes, New York Records Manager, has spearheaded this remarkable achievement through improved records practices and inventory management, and the scanning project. The New York offices is now rolling out scanning to the front office for practices who want to go digital, and is also scanning for the firm’s administrative departments.

Scan and Shred Closed Matters is an effective Scanbition Framework for firms with these objectives:

  • Cut off the growth of offsite storage costs
  • Build a ‘scanning muscle’ in the Records Department for scan capture competency
  • Establish a back-end scanning platform for Records, and scan capture capability for the active lifecycle of the paper, either as a front-office or a Records service function

For more information on this and other Scanbition Frameworks, contact , or use the information request form at the Contact Us page at our web site.

Steve Irons
Author: Steve Irons