10 01, 2022

New Design Thinking for Law Firms’ Digital Mail and Records Operations

2022-01-14T09:31:22-07:00January 10th, 2022|Featured, Paper2Digital Blog|

New Design Thinking for Law Firms’ Digital Mail and Records Operations

What is Design Thinking?

At its core, design thinking is a human-centered process for creative problem solving that encourages organizations to keep a focus on the key stakeholders the current problem involves. If implemented correctly, design thinking leads to more innovation, better products, services, and internal processes.

When an issue arises that requires a solution, a top question should always be, “What’s the actual human perspective behind this solution?” Design thinking defines the creative process for non-creatives and creatives alike by using a systems approach.

System Thinking:

  • Ask the right questions to solve any problem and properly identify the underlying challenges.
  • Visualize and organize information effectively to foster creative collaboration.
  • Involve the necessary stakeholders who the problems affect.

Why do Law Firms Need Design Thinking?

Law firms find themselves facing unique challenges due to the pandemic. Work from home, hybrid work situations, and return to office planning and implementation are disrupting operations in ways that just were not a consideration before the COVID-19 pandemic. Not to mention, ever-evolving security threats and the complex nature of information governance. The costs and inefficiencies that permeate from paper records rooms and offsite storage are problems that can be solved with a design thinking mindset. The value proposition of office space is a driving force of change, but while some firms are right sizing for a smaller real estate footprint, others must contend with new challenges from growth.

Design thinking processes can benefit law firms as they prepare to tackle these issues in a dynamic business environment that is unprecedented in the history of modern law firms. Law firms need to start asking the right kind of questions, involve the people directly affected, and create innovative solutions that address the following topics:

  • Work From Home
    • How can internal office operations or contracted facilities management process daily mail more efficiently and securely by re-designing the mailroom to become a digital mailroom?
  • Office Restack, Consolidation, and Expansion
    • How can law firms eliminate the paper footprint and need of physical records rooms?
    • How can law firms eliminate costs and put a stop to the flow of physical records into offsite storage?
  • Security
    • What are actionable steps law firms can take to reduce the risk of evolving security threats targeting law firms and their sensitive documents?
    • How can the process of mail distribution and records storage become more efficient and secure?
  • Adapt to Change
    • The COVID-19 pandemic affected all businesses. What solutions can law firms put in place that will have an immediate impact and enduring value to address environmental and systemic threats?

Applying Design Thinking to a Specific Problem:  Paper-based Mail and Records

As we roll into the new year, many firms are still being held back by one thing: paper, and this includes the mailrooms and postal mail. Current solutions to deliver daily mail were rapidly cobbled together and they have allowed law firms to get by during the COVID-19 pandemic, but as presently constructed, they are not long-term solutions, because they were never designed to be. It is important to acknowledge the heroic efforts that were put in place while understanding those were stop-gap measures that urgently need a permanent, more durable, and more efficient workflow. For many firms, the ringing of a new year is a wakeup call to fix this problem, but digitizing daily mail is a different sort of problem for law firms and that’s where design thinking helps.

Legal mail items contain sensitive client information. The quick fix has been scan-to-email, but this method involves high-security risks that puts the law firm and the client’s information at risk. A best practice Digital Mailroom operation negates risk completely by delivering mail directly to the digital management system (DMS) where sensitive client information can be properly filed according to the law firm’s information governance policies. A best practice Digital Records Room operates in a similar fashion by building a digitization project for scanning large volumes of physical records and storing them in the DMS.

These best practices focus on eliminating a law firms paper footprint by reducing costs and inefficiencies. The results are essential digital workflows that are better by design. Law firms not only save on unnecessary costs, but also create the ability to keep attorneys and staff productive no matter if they are work from home, in a hybrid work environment, or working in office.

Not only are these problems capable of being solved—they already have been. DocSolid’s Airmail2 Digital Mail + Records completely transforms a law firm’s paper-centric mail and records into digital operations that support work from home and return to office strategies.

The Airmail2 software provides law firms with digital delivery of sensitive and time-dependent mail and file requests with digital delivery into the DMS, allowing firms to distribute information fast and securely.

Daily Mail Digital Delivery Flowchart

Daily Mail Digital Delivery Flowchart

Client Requirements

In design thinking, identifying the key stakeholders is the first step in being able to properly create innovative solutions for them. For Digital Mailrooms, the key stakeholders who most need a robust solution are attorneys, mailroom operators, and records managers.

Attorneys: Mail Notifications

From the perspective of attorneys and legal administrative assistants, the most critical element of digital mail is the inbound email message that confirms when new mail gets delivered to them digitally into the document management system. This email message needs to be fast, informative, and immediately actionable when necessary.

Airmail2 notifications include a secure link to the digital document, a thumbnail image, and information about the mail item that enables recipients to make decisions and take next steps, including whether the physical mail needs to be kept for legal record keeping purposes. Attorneys always have the option to flag any physical mail item they want kept, but it is getting rare for that to be required by a government entity or the courts.

The mail notification message is multi-purpose:

  • It has import to the addressee
  • It represents a task to the practice team
  • It is a step forward in the efficiency of handing-off paper

The simple and quick alert of incoming mail should contain enough information to triage and accurately file the digital document. This better facilitates any further work on the related matter. Delivery of digital mail is faster because it eliminates all worker location constraints that are the result of handling physical mail manually. For example, a law firm spending $3,000 per month to pay for courier drivers to deliver physical mail to attorneys working at home fails to compare, of course. Speed wins.

Mailroom operators:  Simplicity and Reliability

From the mailroom perspective, this work is thankless drudgery, so they need help with repetitive portions of this time sensitive task. The Airmail2 software enables quick labeling of each item based on information visible on the envelope. Everything else is pre-configured according to routing rules in the software.

Scanning and quality control can be done separately to batch the work with simple checklists. When the operator is done, they need to verify the delivery status, image quality and page counts. That mail delivery session is then closed, and the operator starts the next one. If needed, they can easily go back to retrieve and fix a mail item. Paper handling is constrained within a few feet of the front door rather than travelling further inside the building. Or worse, travelling miles further outside the building. Most importantly, the documents get to their intended recipients fast.

Records Managers: Integration with the Matter File

For Records Managers, the requirements are to clear the clutter and capture the true documents as early as possible in the digital matter file. As mentioned, the requirement to retain a physical document are rare— once and done is the name of the game for records and retention compliance. With permission to shred after scan and with reasonable quality controls, Mailroom and Information Governance (IG) staff can focus on efficiency: careful identification and training on naming conventions and any exceptions to the firm’s scan and shred policy.

Requirements will include the ability to direct the images to the best places possible in the DMS. A person knowledgeable about the document types will need to intervene, but this does not always have to be the legal secretary. If standards can be put in place over time for repetitive doc types, everyone is more efficient.

Conclusion:

Law firms have unique requirements and no two are exactly alike, but this is the reason why design thinking is the smart way to achieve your goals. DocSolid uses the principles of design thinking to develop the Airmail2 Digital Mailroom and Digital Records Room software and supplies. These are proven solutions with certified DMS integrations for iManage and NetDocuments. Are you looking to adopt a best practice because your law firm needs to deploy a mission critical Paper2Digital Transformation like this? DocSolid Design is leading the way.

15 12, 2021

Client Requirements for a Digital Mailroom Solution – Who Cares?

2022-01-14T09:22:59-07:00December 15th, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

Client Requirements for a Digital Mailroom Solution – Who Cares?

What do attorneys, mailroom operators and records managers need from a digital mail solution?

Law firms now need a best practice digital mailroom operation, moving beyond the scan-to-email workaround established at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. In seeking a best practice solution, it’s useful to consider the needs of the key stakeholders who most need a robust solution: attorneys, mailroom operators, and records managers.

 Attorneys: Mail Notifications

From the perspective of attorneys and legal administrative assistants, the most critical or useful element of digital mail is the inbound message of available mail. This message needs to be as fast as postal mail was in terms of arriving onto the desk—and faster is even better and perfectly possible with today’s available technology.

Getting a notification with an image, mail recipients are enabled to make decisions and take next steps, including whether the physical mail needs to be kept later for legal records keeping purposes. This requirement is getting rare however for most state governments and their courts.

The mail notification message is multi-purpose:

  • It has import to the addressee
  • It represents a task to the practice team
  • It is a step forward in the efficiency of handing-off paper

The simple and quick alert of incoming mail should contain enough information to triage and accurately file away the image for all further work on the matter to enable the flow to next steps happens faster with less cleanup required.

Mailroom operators:  Simplicity and Reliability

From mailroom perspective, this work is thankless drudgery, so they need help with repetitive portions of this time sensitive task. Firstly, this is quite simply a strong firm stance on what the standards are for efficient, defensible cost-conscious processing of physical mail. IT can’t be all things to all people and should not be forced into a position to double, or even sometimes triple their work in re-delivering postal mail multiple times/places physically or even digitally.

A good system from a mailroom perspective allows for simple efficient labeling of each item based on information available on the envelope or on-screen recorded in the software tool.

Scanning and quality control can be done in groups as a matter of course with simple checklists. When the operator is done, they should be able to verify the status and the counts and easily go back to pull up any items for which a question is returned. That mail delivery session is then closed, and the operator then has a clean start ready for the next one. Paper is handled and trashed within a few feet of the door rather than travelling miles further inside the building.

Records: Integration with the Matter File

For Records, the requirements are to clear the clutter and capture the true documents as early as possible in the digital matter file. Since as mentioned, the requirement to retain the physical mail is rare, once and done is the name of the game for records and retention compliance. With permission to shred after scan and with reasonable QC, Mailroom, and information governance (IG) staff can focus on efficiency: careful identification and training on naming conventions and any exceptions to the new rule of scan and destroy.

Their requirements will include the ability to direct the images to the best places possible in the DMS. A person knowledgeable about the document types will need to intervene, but this does not always have to be the legal secretary. If standards can be put in place over time for repetitive doc types, everyone is more efficient.

The best system will include feedback mechanisms for tuning the postal mail delivery and any exceptions for each practice, or even a specific recipient.

Wouldn’t it be great if over time the notification message to the addressee and matter team about a mail item delivered an hour ago included a link to the DMS where the item is already filed in its proper client/matter workspace and folder?

In the end, each group will have its own requirements for digital mail, and a robust solution should take into these key considerations as you design your firm’s digital mail room solution for the long term.

18 11, 2021

The Top 3 Reasons to Build a Digital Records Room

2021-12-15T13:52:58-07:00November 18th, 2021|Featured, Paper2Digital Blog|

The Top 3 Reasons to Build a Digital Records Room

The fiscal year for law firms is ending on a high note—with more to come. Thomson Reuters’ most recent data shows that a solid majority of firms (70%) predict that the moderate to high growth in demand experienced in 2021 will continue well into 2022. Regarding operational planning for 2022, the top 5 tactics law firms will take are:

  1. More efficient real estate/rethinking space;
  2. New practice tools to drive efficiencies;
  3. Rationalizing secretarial support;
  4. Improving billing and collections; and
  5. More technology.

Clearly, many if not most firms are abuzz with talk regarding a more efficient or reconfigured use of their current real estate footprint—but what does it take to achieve this vision of the future? One thing that can hold a law firm back from the new-“visioning” taking place is paper—and the shocking amount of real estate most firms currently dedicate to housing an onsite records room.

As a part of firms’ strategic thinking for 2022, firms need a strategy for onsite paper, i.e. their onsite records rooms. This is a digital records room, and it’s way past due. A digital records room is a firm-wide system of software, workflow and services, to digitize paper records to the DMS, replacing paper file rooms with a new digital operation.

A digital records room supports the firm’s strategic plan to reduce and rethink real estate by eliminating the paper footprint of records rooms and scattered file storage. It is also used to service attorneys working from home more efficiently—and does so more securely and in line with the firm’s information governance policy. Let’s dig in to these 3 reasons to build a digital records room.

1. Efficiency and Productivity of Attorneys

When records are digitizedrecords retrieval is transformed and dramatically improved for the end users—the attorneys. Records managers no longer must rifle through shelves to locate boxes, and then sort through to find the right manila folder to locate the actual document, taking valuable time away from the attorneys’ review.

The records are digitized typically through a scanning and cataloging process that associates keywords or matter numbers or other valuable data within a document enabling users to search on what they know to produce a list of possible matches. Results are produced in seconds or minutes versus hours, or even days.

In a hybrid operation which most firms are planning on, this process becomes even more simplified as records retrieved would need to be shipped offsite to individual attorneys’ home offices, a logistical and security nightmare.

A tertiary benefit is quickly realized through this process of digitizing records, which is that the record can be queried using a full-text searching tool. A full-text search tool can usually be combined with another search tool letting users add criteria like matter number or keyword to zero-in on the exact document needed. Not only this, but digitization helps firms unlock the the information in their matters so they become searchable. Firms are in an improved position for their knowledge management processes, and attorneys are able to search and find prior work product more quickly. This is simply not possible unless your records are digitized.

Another significant benefit of a digitized records room that directly benefits attorney’s efficiency and productivity is the ability to back up and make copies of the files. Duplicating an entire physical records room is simply not feasible. Once documents are digitized, however, they are easily copied and thus protected against accidental destruction from flood, fire, or even accidental discard.

2. Security and Information Governance

With a physical records room, the effort to share useful documents securely and within the firm’s IG policy is significant. With a physical records room, firms must apply physical security to restrict access. This means locking file cabinets, keycard systems, and other similar measures, which require time and attention. And with a physical records room, it is daunting to locate the proper files for destruction.

In a hybrid operation, the security of physical records put the firm at an even greater risk—greater risk of lost or compromised files in transit; greater risk of logistical errors, greater risk of exposure as files move through various domains not directly monitored by the firm.

With a digitized records room, a firm’s documents are cataloged using a retention schedule, and destruction of the appropriate files is simply reporting, approving and then automatically deleting files.

Once digitized, firms can apply common computer security measures to control who sees what documents. This sort of security can be organized globally, by type of document, by case, author or any other criteria as needed by the firm’s policies.

3. Real Estate Reduction

Finally, an obvious benefit of digitization is the elimination of real estate dedicated to the storing of onsite records. Law firms routinely recover hundreds or even thousands of square feet of valuable floor space when they digitize their records.

Real estate is the second biggest expense for a law firm. As firms aggressively roll out their real estate compression plans, they must eliminate the floor space required for records rooms and ad hoc paper file storage.

The majority of firms spend approximately 6-8% of gross revenue on real estate costs in major metropolitan areas. Cushman & Wakefield projects that firms will be able to save as much as 3.5% of revenue by renegotiating their leases.

Firms can run projects to digitize the existing records rooms in each city office, then apply the same solution to maintaining ongoing digitization of new paper records as they are received and used.

Conclusion

The concept of a digital records room has appealed to firm leadership and IG professionals for some time. Everyone understands how paper records make firms less agile. The substantial costs, risks and inefficiencies of paper records just keep accumulating. This impedes profitability and growth on many fronts. For firms that have been waiting for a business case to win the project with their executive committees, now’s the time.

10 08, 2021

Law Offices Get Smaller, Records Rooms Get Digital: A DocSolid White Paper

2022-01-14T09:57:08-07:00August 10th, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

Law Offices Get Smaller, Records Rooms Get Digital: A DocSolid White Paper

Law firms are facing a tremendous opportunity to reduce real estate, but paper-based records rooms are an obstacle to this.  As firms strategize real estate compression plans, eliminating floor space required for records rooms and ad hoc paper file storage is key. Not only that, but the new hybrid workforce of in-house and at-home attorneys cannot be supported securely or efficiently when records room workflows are paper-based.

The DocSolid white paper, “Law Offices Get Smaller, Records Rooms Get Digital” outlines a digital records room strategy and implementation plan. A digital records room is a firm-wide system of software, workflow and services, to digitize paper records to the DMS (including iManage or NetDocuments), replacing paper file rooms.

Jamie Blomquist, CIO at Maslon, comments: “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.”

 

The white paper includes insights from information governance and records professionals and details IG and security requirements for a best practice digital records room such as:

  1. Tight DMS / RMS integration with leading industry platforms such as iManage, NetDocuments and FileTrail
  2. Vendor DMS expertise and solution flexibility so that a firm’s DMS customizations can be accommodated
  3. In-house and outsourced staff empowered with DMS profiling-scanning capability without DMS logins
  4. Enterprise software that matches a firm’s security regime
  5. Avoidance of scan-to-email attachments or new operating repositories
  6. Built-in auditing of the overall capture process, down to the document level
  7. Paper document disposition-retention-shredding built into the process
  8. Ability to segregate processes for confidential content e.g., HR documents

For more information about the DocSolid white paper, “Law Firms Get Smaller, Records Rooms Get Digital” go here:
https://www.docsolid.com/law-firm-digital-records-room-white-paper/

16 06, 2021

Why is DMS Integration so Pivotal for Digital Mail and Records?

2021-06-17T12:33:24-07:00June 16th, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

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.

  1. 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.
  2. SharePoint disrupted the market by entering at the low end.
  3. Users realized that they were spending too much on all of their silos.
  4. Users realized that they could only automate across departments if they did something about[1]

Fast forward to today and we see that the top five issues keeping Chief Legal Officers[2] awake at night, three pertain to how law firms handle of their records, including:

  1. Protection of corporate data
  2. Governance and management of data
  3. 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.

The Digital Mailroom enables productive, secure delivery of daily mail directly into the DMS. Learn more by downloading our free guide, 7 Reasons to Upgrade to a Digital Mailroom Operation

[1] https://info.aiim.org/aiim-blog/newaiimo/2010/10/20/systems-of-record-and-systems-of-engagement

[2] 2018 ACC Chief Legal Officer Survey

7 04, 2021

Reduce Real Estate by Digitizing Daily Mail and Records – The Right Way

2021-08-30T14:45:50-07:00April 7th, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

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.

DocSolid Digital Mailroom Icon
DocSolid Digital Records Room Icon - Airmail2

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. 

 

More can be learned about the benefits of transforming mailroom operations in our industry white paper:
7 Reasons to Upgrade to a Digital Mailroom Operation .

 

30 03, 2021

8 Reasons Why CIOs Love Airmail2 Digital Mailroom

2021-03-30T10:16:34-07:00March 30th, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

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:

  1. Purpose-built, targeted application replaces the hodge-podge of responses to last year’s immediate need
  2. Moves scanned daily mail storage from the already over-burdened Exchange System to the more scalable DMS repository
  3. Zero footprint deployment to mailrooms across the enterprise, leverages existing scanning devices and workstations
  4. Non-firm personnel, e.g. the facilities management (FM) company can provide Digital Mailroom services because operators do not require access to the DMS
  5. Keeping attachments out of the Outlook Inbox make the information governance (IG) folks happy
  6. Targeted and flexible notifications make attorneys happy and productive: no notification, no mail today
  7. Big opportunity for cost savings by eliminating physical delivery now, and centralizing mailrooms in the future
  8. Wins an important battle in getting attorneys to act more digitally by capturing (digitizing) incoming paper at the point of receipt, the mailroom

10 03, 2021

A How-to Guide to Transform Your Mailroom for the Normal Now

2021-06-16T18:16:36-07:00March 10th, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

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?

  1. The mailroom scanning operation is not integrated with the document management system (DMS).
  2. Scanned mail recipients must use their email inbox as a workflow tool to process daily mail.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  • Requirements for Digital Mailroom Operation
  • Why Scan to Email Won’t Cut It
  • How to Assess the Current Mailroom Operation

Download the white paper here.

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
    • Internet hosted or on-premise deployment

Learn more about Airmail2 here.

1 02, 2021

Makeshift Mail Scanning – A Fire Drill on the Verge of a Train Wreck?

2021-02-01T11:22:02-07:00February 1st, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

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.

Our point, of course, is to shed light on the fact that your law firm cannot keep operating in emergency response mode when it comes to processing mail. The daily mail is essential to a law firm because much of it is matter related and response times often have absolute due dates. For law firms operating with a distributed workforce, all those paper records arriving at the main office create bottlenecks that slow productivity and create other inefficiencies.

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 email every 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 drill headed 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. 

 

18 01, 2021

Three Keys to Remodeling Your Digital Mailroom

2021-02-22T12:59:09-07:00January 18th, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

Three Keys to Remodeling Your Digital Mailroom

Congratulations! You weathered the onslaught of the pandemic and transitioned to distributed work from home offices. That home office relocation is looking permanent for much of your workforce so it is time to harden the systems that make a work-from-home (WFH) law firm function. A Digital Mailroom is one such system. Using existing scan-to-email utilities at the outset of the pandemic is not an effective permanent solution for a law firm’s mail operation. It was never intended to be, but most legal practices are just beginning to reconsider how essential operations like daily mail will function with a distributed workforce. It is now time to remodel your Digital Mailroom into a permanent, effective operation.

Your firm isn’t going back to paper mail delivery distributed to desks in the city offices. That was a faulty, antiquated process anyway. Digital is better – you just need some finishing work to make it a reliable, secure operation. Your attorneys and staff need to stay productive anywhere they work. Legal technology professionals are now considering the daily mail operation as one of their firm’s greatest opportunities to improve. It’s time to make your Digital Mailroom a permanent fixture of your remodeled law firm.

Here are three keys to remodeling your Digital Mailroom:

  • Deliver legal mail to the document management system (DMS)
  • Embed quality controls, monitoring and reporting
  • Make the mailroom operation simple and efficient

Deliver legal mail to the DMS, not to email. Legal mail is mission critical and time-sensitive, and it contains confidential client information. Once mail items are scanned, the PDF files are destined for the DMS, their permanent home. It’s easy to set up daily mail folders for each DMS user, and when scanned mail items arrive, the DMS provides a move function so that users (or support staff) can place the PDFs into the proper matter folder. Routing scanned legal mail items through the email system is inefficient, and it’s a multi-faceted security risk.  Using the email system to distribute scanned legal mail is not an acceptable long term solution.

Embed quality controls, monitoring and reporting in the Digital Mailroom solution. Perfectly scanned mail items delivered reliably each day to waiting attorneys – that’s the standard. Attorneys working at home don’t have nearby staff to fix errors or tweak process for them. The Digital Mailroom should have embedded software and process to ensure quality. Did every received mail item get scanned, with all pages and image quality checked, and the envelop scanned as a last page? Is the mailroom technology connected to a help desk to assist when needed? Can we run reports to track volumes and productivity, so that peak days, growth and operational efficiencies can be anticipated?

Make the mailroom operation simple and efficient. We hear many stories about how all sorts of exceptions and process variations were put in place to accommodate attorney requests when a firm first put a makeshift mail scanning operation in place. The result is spotty performance, jagged quality, and a high reliance on clerical staff memory and Post-it Note bulletins. A remodeled Digital Mailroom needs a best practice approach with software designed expressly for this operation, and repeatable workflows like scanning stacks. This reduces dependency on staff heroics and it establishes much needed reliability in the operation. It also enables repeatability across multiple law office locations, or a better path to mail centralization across offices… A game changer for law firms embracing distributed work.

There you go. Three keys to remodeling your Digital Mailroom, for the better future we’re starting to see. Of course, you will want a good contractor with the proper tools to do this remodeling job. That’s the unmatched expertise you get from DocSolid along with the Airmail2 software you need to create your Digital Mailroom.

Learn much more in this white paper
7 Reasons to Upgrade to a Digital Mailroom

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