Create a Digital Mail and Records Room with NetDocuments + Airmail2
FOR DAILY MAIL: Learn how to create a Digital Mail Room using your firm’s existing document management system with Airmail2.
FOR RECORDS: The Digital Records Room targets the firm’s existing file rooms to reduce a firm’s real estate footprint.
Daily mail is mission critical and much of it contains confidential client information so digital delivery is essential. Attorneys need their daily mail and matter-related paper records sitting back at the main office while they are working from a home office or any place they choose.
The Digital Records Room targets the firm’s existing file rooms to reduce a firm’s real estate footprint. Gain insights from our featured guest panelist, Jamie Blomquist – CIO Maslon, a NetDocuments + Airmail2 customer.
Learn innovative ways to keep a legal practice productive for home workers. Batch the work and optimize workflows by scanning stacks of paper all at once with the press of one button using any copier or scanning device.
NetDocuments + Airmail2 keeps attorneys productive while working securely in the office, working from a home office, or any place they choose.
1. Digitize daily mail for a distributed workforce with secure delivery via NetDocuments
2. Rethinking office space without a records room
3. How the NetDocuments + Airmail2 integration works with barcode labels and batch work
Steve Irons – President, DocSolid
Bradlee Duncan – Director, Product Management at NetDocuments
Law Offices Get Smaller,
Records Rooms Get Digital
Free White Paper
Eliminate the firm’s paper footprint for real estate optimization
Keep attorneys and staff productive wherever they work
Stop the flow of paper records to offsite storage
Now is the time for the Paper2Digital® transformation firms have been delaying. Law firms today are presented with two key transformational catalysts: 1) attorneys have embraced technology and digital skills to enable their work from home preferences; and 2) firm office lease expenses can be greatly reduced in conjunction with a smaller in-office workforce.
“There are essentially three use cases for transitioning to a Digital Records Room: reduce costs by reducing the footprint of paper so we can optimize our office space for higher value work; improve productivity and help attorneys have anywhere access to their files; and lastly, driving our paper files into one centralized DMS file helps us govern and reduce risk better.”
– Jamie Blomquist, CIO at Maslon
“The Digital Records Room was a key component of building a truly comprehensive information governance environment.”
– Deb Rifenbark, CIGO, IGP, CRM, Director of Information Governance, Stinson LLP
Fill out this form for immediate, complimentary access to this white paper
Airmail2 Digital Records Room integrates with iManage and NetDocuments
Why is DMS Integration so Pivotal for Digital Mail and Records?
A System of Record is Requisite to Information Governance and Managing Risk
In the beginning, document management was a system used to manage versions and eliminate the risk of sending the wrong version to clients. Documents could be more easily shared and re-used when stored in a managed library.
As the market matured, four things happened to change the economics and structure of the market for systems of record solutions and help move this market across the chasm.
In the wake of a dramatic increase in compliance and risk-based concerns (Enron, SarBox, FRCP), organizations realized that they needed better control over their silos.
SharePoint disrupted the market by entering at the low end.
Users realized that they were spending too much on all of their silos.
Users realized that they could only automate across departments if they did something about
Fast forward to today and we see that the top five issues keeping Chief Legal Officers awake at night, three pertain to how law firms handle of their records, including:
Protection of corporate data
Governance and management of data
Ethics and compliance requirements
Why DMS is Necessary
Client information must be managed within the technology framework of the document management system (DMS). Only through the technology of the DMS can we deliver security and the effective, timely, and consistent disposal of physical and electronic information that no longer needs to be retained should be a core component of any Information Governance program.
Email (for better or for worse often) is a corporate “record” just like any other document. Email is the de facto standard for business communication across organizations at this time. Just as any other type of business information and record, email must be included as part of, and adhered to, the organizational standards addressing information and records.
Therefore, scanning inbound postal mail via email is creating a new record that must be filed in the document management system. This is an inefficient, laborious process that puts unnecessary labor on the part of the attorneys who must then file the email.
There are other options such as sending inbound postal mail via the DMS directly to the attorneys without using email. This eliminates the inefficiency of sending via email and protects the firm’s information governance processes.
5 Steps to Get Information Governance Policy to Control Your mailroom
Distributed work in some capacity or other is here to stay, and if that means continuing to scan inbound postal mail as an attachment to an attorney’s email, this brings us to the question: Should we be concerned about IG now?
Should the mailroom now be owned by the information governance arm of the firm?
Pre-pandemic, this wasn’t a necessary consideration. Then, when the pandemic hit and sent the workforce to home offices, most law firms quickly started scanning to email to get the mail out. Facilities management or available clerical staff went into the office and cobbled together this new work process. In the midst of the crisis and no indication of its duration, it is likely to say that no firm had information governance on its mind once again.
Mail has been a perfunctory function aligned with other physical office services, but the pandemic shifted mail to a critical, and digital operation. The proportion of U.S. lawyers who now want to work remotely at least one day a week has doubled from the pre-pandemic period.
Quality Control over your Mail and Records Processes
Quality Control and Shredding Documents
The payback for scanning paper documents is never fully released until shredding occurs. Continuing to distribute, store and manage paper physically after it is made digital is inefficient, posing a risk to your clients and ultimately the firm. Unfortunately, the decision to shred is a big one for a firm and so is often delayed indefinitely seeking that “perfect” time or set of circumstances to make such a move.
A carefully defined, quality control procedure ensuring the digital version accurately represents the physical document could give firm leaders the confidence to shred thereby reaping the benefits from scanning.
Digital Mail and Quality Control
Firms jumped on scanning mail at the start of the pandemic. But most are still distributing mail physically requiring duplicate effort and creating an information governance nightmare. Instead, after each item is scanned, a good quality control procedure should stage the paper in a box ordered by date for a comfortable retention period, say 60 days. This makes it easy to retrieve a physical item when required and bulk destruction once the retention period ends.
DocSolid’s Postmark Platform makes a reliable quality control (QC) procedure possible by turning it into repeatable steps that are easily trained and implemented. Postmark QC innovative and patented workflow ensures that all documents and pages were scanned correctly as well as delivered to the recipient (mail) or requestor (records).
In addition, Postmark QC also instructs the quality control operator on disposition i.e., what should happen to the paper document after it has undergone the various quality checks. This combination of checking image quality, delivery and disposition forms a robust procedure meant to be repeatable and productive, or put another way highly reliable.
The high-level of reliability provides you the confidence necessary to promote shredding as a critical step in your firm’s paper2digital journey.
Learn how to create a Digital Mailroom and a Digital Records Room with your existing document management system using Airmail2. Daily mail is mission critical with confidential and time-sensitive client information. Digitizing the records room is an essential part of firms’ reducing their real estate footprint.
Law firms are uniquely dependent on inbound paper documents from clients, courts, opposing counsel and research efforts. Some of these paper items mandate a calendared response, or contain sensitive client information or crucial matter content.
7 reasons digital mail is essential for a distributed workforce
Optimize daily mail workflows with a batch process into the DMS
Smarter office real estate compression with a digital records room
Reduce Real Estate by Digitizing Daily Mail and Records – The Right Way
The ways attorneys prefer to work has transformed. 76 percent now favor remote work, according to the 2021 Peer Monitor and Georgetown Law State of the Legal Industry Report.
And if attorneys change the way they work, that means everything changes: from how attorneys receive client mail and request matter files, to large scale financial decisions that affect one of the most expensive costs law firms have after salaries: real estate.
This is why we shouldn’t be surprised when Sherry Cushman, Vice Chair and Executive Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield, predicts “The legal sector will be downsizing its real estate needs on average 10% to 30% — and in some cases, 40% to 50%.”
The opportunity to recapture real estate costs is extremely attractive to law firms, but firms first need to solve the paper-based problems of daily mail and onsite records.
Paper2Digital Transformation leads to real estate optimization
When it comes to daily mail, attorneys and staff working from home absolutely require reliable, digital delivery of daily mail. Scan-to-email workarounds were hastily applied at the onset of the COVID-19, but now the mailroom needs to be made into a durable, permanent and secure operation.
Legal mail items contain client information, and the methods for processing them digitally should incorporate the same standards applied for all client data at the firm. In retrospect, building a daily mail delivery process based upon email was not a good idea.
A best practice Digital Mailroom operation delivers mail directly to the DMS where sensitive information can be delivered securely and governed according to firm policy. A best practice digital records room is similar, building a digitization project for scanning large volumes of paper records and storing them in the document management system. Built-in quality controls enable confident shredding of the scanned documents. It’s a Paper2Digital Transformation that can make entire file rooms disappear.
These are best practices focused on the critical paper-based workflows inside the law firm. The value proposition is strong just based on eliminating the costs and inefficiencies of paper records and nothing more. However, a multitude of other high value, and high visibility, goals become possible including; repurposed office space, hoteling, and downsizing. Beyond the tangible cost savings, these digital workflows are required to keep attorneys and staff productive, no matter where they may choose to work on any given day.
DocSolid’s Airmail2 Digital Mail + Records Suite transforms a firm’s paper-based mailroom and Records Room functions into streamlined, digital operations supporting both work-from-home and return-to-office strategies simultaneously, while enabling firms to optimize their real estate.
The Airmail2 Suite provides scanned delivery of sensitive and time-dependent mail and file requests via the document management system (DMS), enabling firms to govern, secure, and distribute information efficiently, according to policy and in keeping with individual client guidelines.
Law firms now need a formal Digital Mailroom operation, moving beyond the scan-to-email workaround established at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Because doing something immediately was driving the decision, the workaround was formulated with little or no consultation with IT or information governance teams.
It has become evident over the past year that attorneys and staff working from home value reliable, digital delivery of daily mail, but it is now time for those mailroom operations to align with firms’ best practices.
For example, scanned legal mail is currently delivered as improperly named PDF attachments stored on Exchange, requiring never-ending growth in storage space at the same time posing a security and compliance risk for the related client.
Legal mail items contain client information, and the methods for processing them digitally should incorporate the same standards applied for all client data at the firm. Email is a key source of phishing and email attachments are a key source of malware. Email attacks are constantly evolving because email represents an open vulnerability for IT systems. In retrospect, building a daily mail delivery process based upon email was not the best idea.
Airmail2 Digital Mailroom was engineered from the ground up to solve the security and compliance requirements of law firms by providing direct delivery of daily mail to the firm’s document management system (DMS), where sensitive information can be protected and governed by the DMS best practices.
Here are the top reasons why CIOs love the Airmail2 Digital Mailroom:
Purpose-built, targeted application replaces the hodge-podge of responses to last year’s immediate need
Moves scanned daily mail storage from the already over-burdened Exchange System to the more scalable DMS repository
Zero footprint deployment to mailrooms across the enterprise, leverages existing scanning devices and workstations
Non-firm personnel, e.g. the facilities management (FM) company can provide Digital Mailroom services because operators do not require access to the DMS
Keeping attachments out of the Outlook Inbox make the information governance (IG) folks happy
Targeted and flexible notifications make attorneys happy and productive: no notification, no mail today
Big opportunity for cost savings by eliminating physical delivery now, and centralizing mailrooms in the future
Wins an important battle in getting attorneys to act more digitally by capturing (digitizing) incoming paper at the point of receipt, the mailroom
A How-to Guide to Transform Your Mailroom for the Normal Now
As law firms transition from crisis management to long-term solutions for the Normal Now, a crafted Digital Mailroom is essential. Inbound legal mail needs to get in the DMS, not the email system where it is delayed and exposed.
If your firm is still scanning daily mail to email, how many of these challenges does your firm experience?
The mailroom scanning operation is not integrated with the document management system (DMS).
Scanned mail recipients must use their email inbox as a workflow tool to process daily mail.
From an IT and security perspective, scanned legal mail ends up as unnamed PDF attachments stored in the email server, clogging storage space and compromising security and compliance for the related client information.
After scanning, the physical paper mail is still manually distributed to attorneys’ or assistants’ desks, or stored in a makeshift file area, replicating the labor of the previous paper-based operation, in addition to the new labor for scanning operations.
Attorneys and staff have complaints about the mail scanning results, such as delays, inadequate notifications, misdirected distribution, and scanned file quality issues.
DocSolid is pleased to offer the industry white paper, “7 Reasons to Upgrade to a Digital Mailroom Operation,” to help guide firms’ transformation to a fully Digital Mailroom. It includes:
Airmail2 by DocSolid is engineered from the ground up to solve the productivity and information security requirements of law firms by providing direct delivery of postal mail to the firm’s document management system (DMS), where sensitive information can be protected and governed by the DMS best practices.
Airmail2 by DocSolid enables clerical operators with minimal training and without login access to the DMS to scan, QC, and directly deliver postal mail in electronic form to the firm’s DMS of choice. DocSolid’s Airmail2 Digital Mailroom provides:
Scanned mail delivery to iManage and other DMS systems
DMS matter lookups when full profiling is required
Mapped mail delivery to attorneys and legal assistants with automated notifications
Batch workflows for productive alignment with legal office staffing resources
Law firms were forced to develop new habits to handle work during the pandemic. Physical mail delivery is no exception. Some solutions were carefully thought out, but like many problems solved at the start of the ‘stay at home’ orders, many are still running in the same way as when they got cobbled together as an emergency response. Just for fun let’s take a look at some of the fire drill mail delivery routines we have come across that were hurriedly put in place.
Multi-national Law Firm 1. Dropping scanned mail to a folder on the network – quick and dirty right? Well those of us in IG have been battling unstructured file share repositories for years, yet here is another one! First there is no way to notify you when you specifically receive new mail, so all the employees in the firm have to be notified at once when the mail scanning work is completed. This means, you get notified via emailevery day, whether you have new mail that requires your attention, or not. Important mail gets processed out of these folders – maybe making it into the DMS where it ultimately belongs- and some legal assistants are good at doing duplicate file clean up, but it is basically a redundant repository accumulating matter related documents on a regular basis as it competes with the intended official repository for matter files in the document management system.
US AMLAW 200 Law Firm 2. This stuff is important! Let’s get executives involved. Everyone was safely sent to work at home or furloughed, but after several important client mailings and invoices were missed, something had to be done quickly. Emergency commandment: hire couriers to deliver the postal mail to the senior managers at home.Executives sorting firm mail in their kitchens! A new job skill for law firm executives. If the courier logistics were not enough, the sorted mail gets couriered again, or may be scanned at home. All of these operational gymnastics are just to to achieve the simple, but essential, task of getting your firm’s postal mail to the intended recipient.
Yet Another Firm 3.once a makeshift scan-to-email solution was in place, the attorneys complained 1) excess notifications filling up his precious email inbox with scans of items that mostly have already been received, 2) Delivering the physical mail after the scan to the practice area anyway – just in case. Great, so your legal assistants and partners are doing double work to sort the mail. Good luck accounting for all that in time and billings, 3)Attorneys and associates missed their ‘grey mail’ too.Though this was not business-critical correspondence, it meant that the practicing law person missed sign up dates for required continuing education events!
So, I hope do you want to go through this again: being dependent on someone else to decide what mail is valuable and how quickly you need it,random, intermittent and duplicative ways to get it. You never intended for work-from-home to become the rule rather than the exception, but it’s 2021 so the time has come to start rationalizing the normal now. Otherwise, that postal mail of yours is a fire drillheaded for becoming an absolute train wreck.
How do we resolve this? A safe, reliable, structured and scalable system must be settled on. This involves a top-down re-assessment of the daily mail operation in terms of the people, process and tools involved. Look for the smart solution. It is out there, if you know where to look for it.