Law firms throughout the country are still being held back by one thing — paper. Postal mail and a law firm’s mailroom have logistical challenges on a scale we simply never saw before 2019. The traditional format of a mailroom creates a significant bottleneck in attorney productivity as presently constructed because they were never designed to support the new realities of work from home with a hybrid workforce. As if that wasn’t causing enough pain already, the United States Postal Service (USPS) recently introduced new service standards that will only make things worse.
At the end of 2021, the USPS changed the services standards for first-class mail. These changes have resulted in lengthened delivery times for 40% of first-class mail and packages. This means time-sensitive law firm and client documents delivered through the USPS could take up to five days to arrive, instead of the standard two days.
The new service standards are not only affecting delivery times, but also price. First-class standard sized mail and large envelopes such as letters, bills, and statements are all seeing about a 10 percent increase in price. These changes are all a part of current Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy’s 10-year Delivering for America plan to tackle the agency’s massive debt.
For people operating outside of a law firm’s mailroom, these changes may seem inconsequential, but the slower delivery times are a new risk factor that will impact a law firm’s ability to get inbound mail routed internally on time. Law firms are critically dependent on paper mail from clients, courts, opposing counsel and research sources. Postal mail delivered to a law firm will often mandate a calendared response, contain sensitive client information, or contain information that is critical for a court case or essential to the progress of an active matter.
The question now stands: With a distributed workforce and the physical mail slowing down,
can a law firm afford to operate this way?
Clearly no. To combat potential delays, firms are now able to implement a best practice digital mailroom solution that serves the entire firm as a reliable, efficient, and SLA-based operation that consistently provides the fastest and most secure method of delivery possible. It will have an immediate impact and offers enduring value to the firm because it involves a critical component of attorney-client communications. Attorneys and their clients will notice this difference. Speed wins.
A best practice digital mailroom is designed as a seamless, efficient digital operation with batched workflow steps, built-in quality controls (QC), and direct-to-DMS delivery with configurable routing rules as needed for different types of documents.
The solution is the Airmail2 Digital Mailroom software by DocSolid with certified DMS integrations. DocSolid deploys Airmail2 with best practice workflows designed for law firms to solve the productivity and logistics problems of inbound mail delivered by the post office or couriers. It also aligns with information governance policies because it works with the firm’s existing document management system (DMS) to store matter files and sensitive information where they belong right from the start… in the DMS where it is profiled, protected and governed.
Simplistic scan-to-email methods are not sufficient. Paper mail should not just be piled on top of office desks. Makeshift mail scanning is just a fire drill on the way to becoming a train wreck because a completely different approach is needed to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce. Don’t wait for slower postal mail and unforeseen outcomes to negatively impact the quality and speed of service at your law firm.