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9 11, 2022

Budget For A Digital Mailroom

2022-11-10T15:20:54-07:00November 9th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

Budget For A Digital Mailroom

As hybrid office planning continues to evolve in the majority of law firms across the country, firms can no longer rely on the typical scan-to-email approach. This cobbled together method of daily mail delivery is inefficient and it creates cybersecurity liability for the firm. This is where the Airmail2 Digital Mailroom comes in.

DocSolid’s Airmail2 Digital Mailroom completely transforms a law firm’s paper centric mail into a secure, efficient digital operation. Airmail2 is setting the standard as a best practice for law firm digital mailrooms because of how well it facilitates hybrid work. Legal mail items contain client information that is confidential and time sensitive. Therefore, the methods for processing the daily mail digitally must incorporate the same standards applied for all client data at the firm.

The Airmail2 Digital Mailroom was engineered from the ground up to solve the security and compliance requirements of law firms with direct digital delivery of daily mail fully integrated into the firm’s document management system (DMS). Sensitive information is protected and governed by DMS best practices consistent with the firm’s information governance policy.

To upgrade a law firm mailroom with a best-practice digital mailroom solution such as Airmail2, the firm’s stakeholders must gain an appreciation for the distinct differences and advantages of implementing a new digital mailroom operation. This information should help leaders understand the business case as it relates to their law firm. After that, DocSolid can be called upon to help define the scope of a project including requirements, objectives and budget requirements.

In order to upgrade your mailroom to a best-practice digital mailroom, it is important to understand a few of the fundamental differences and advantages:

Security and Information Governance

Law firms are quite often driven by security and information governance concerns. Legal mail items contain sensitive client information. The typical scan-to-email approach that most law firms have in place today involve a variety of security risks that put the firm and their client’s sensitive information at risk. A best-practice digital mailroom operation delivers the mail directly into the law firm’s DMS where confidential client information is properly secured and governed.

Cost Reduction and Efficiency
Recognize the amount of labor, quantified in people and dollars terms, that is consumed by continuing to support makeshift scan-to-email methods. A best-practice digital mailroom is labor efficient with batch work so that it requires fewer mailroom clerical staff, reducing the cost to operate it. Stop the wasteful mail handling time currently in the hands of attorneys and legal assistants who do not have time to be distracted by the redundant delivery of paper mail.

Overall Business Process Improvement
Mailrooms are scanning daily mail because some of that mail belongs in the DMS. But how do you know that ever even happened? A best-practice digital mailroom closes the loop on business process because it is a comprehensive end-to-end solution for getting mail into the DMS. It accomplishes this seamlessly with built-in quality controls, automatic email notifications and operator alerts. And one more thing… The process is faster too. Speed wins.

Attorney / Employee Experience

A best practice digital mailroom achieves an attorney-focused experience that does not require employees to change the ways they work. For mail recipients, it is a reliable daily routine, no matter where they may be physically working on any given day. Everyone appreciates the consistent experience you get with Airmail2 automated notifications and the option of communicating back to the mailroom. It is ideal for workers to have a few things that they can rely on operating the same way every day. The importance of this is greater than ever with hybrid work. The daily mail is a fundamental physical office function that is essential for law firms.

Productivity

Labor is a one of the biggest considerations when deciding to budget for a new Digital Mailroom system. Ongoing labor costs are going to cost more than the purchase price of the software.

With scan-to-email, or even the old convention of physical mail distribution, operational labor costs add up quickly. This tends to be overlooked, but it becomes easy to see how these costs add up when the operational labor is taken into consideration for everyone that plays a part in supporting the mailroom operation. Contributing to the cost of a digital mailroom operation, consider the following:

  • Mailroom labor
  • Mail recipients labor
  • Quality control work
  • Physical paper mail delivery & disposition
  • Help desk, administration, IT involvement, supervision

The redundancy caused by a scan-to-email approach leads to additional labor costs that are avoided with a digital mailroom solution like Airmail2. Scanned mail has to be scanned and emailed to recipients, but in most instances, the mail is also physically delivered as well. This becomes double the amount of work for the mailroom staff, but it also adds work for recipients as they have to reconcile both the digital and physical documents while also creating the work of disposing of the physical mail once they are done with it.

Conclusion

The overhead costs of maintaining an inefficient mailroom operation alone makes a best practice digital mailroom operation a fiscally responsible decision for a law firm. Scan-to-email is bleeding money from the firm each day it is kept in place, while the cybersecurity risks are akin to playing Russian Roulette with confidential client information. It’s impossible to align daily mail delivery with the hybrid work variability of each employee in every office location… Unless you adopt a best practice solution.

Next Steps

  • Contact us to request a copy of the complete Airmail2 Advantages Checklist.
  • Book a demonstration to learn how you can design a Digital Mailroom with Airmail2.
11 10, 2022

Keeping (All) Your Documents Including Digital Mail Behind The Ethical Wall

2022-10-11T07:55:40-07:00October 11th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

Keeping (All) Your Documents Including Digital Mail Behind The Ethical Wall

Remember when document management systems were implemented as a way to maintain versions of a document?  With the advent of PCs, WordPerfect, and a server to store documents on – version control was something that law firms could quickly lose control of.   Document management systems became the way to manage the authoring process – and a big upside was the ease of sharing documents.

Of course, along with the sharing of documents came the issue of over-sharing, or managing ethical walls between clients and attorneys.  This fostered the invention of ethical wall solutions which helped automate managing document sharing and access.

Today, document management systems are responsible for much more than ethical wall security.  Evolving legal requirements surrounding client confidentiality and data privacy concerns are among the risks forcing law firms to re-evaluate their technology infrastructure and policies for securing client matter information subject to an ethical wall.[1]

This is why the document management system is the technology of choice for 98% of all law firms to protect and govern sensitive client information.

When scanned mail items are trafficked outside of the DMS, a firm cannot secure or govern information nor place it behind proper ethical walls to avoid conflicts. So how could we go wrong?

 Don’t Forget the Daily Mail

The notion of scanning paper and securing the scan within the DMS seems to have been forgotten regarding daily mail, but the concerns of conflicts and need for ethical walls reside here as well.  Legal mail items contain sensitive client information. At the onset of the pandemic, most law firms cobbled together a quick fix in scan-to-email, but this method involves a variety of security risks that put law firms – and their client’s sensitive information — at risk.

Scan-to-email solutions mean vital documents are left drifting through cyber-space, often left in email inboxes or perhaps an email folder – without the security of the DMS. The solution: a best practice Digital Mailroom operation.

A best practice digital mailroom operation is the answer because it delivers documents not as email attachments but directly into the firm’s DMS where sensitive client information can be properly secured and governed — completely negating the risks created through scan-to-email. A digital mailroom utilizes intelligent, asynchronous processes to enable clerical operators to work efficiently and securely.

Not only can a best practice Digital Mailroom be created, but they already have been. DocSolid’s Airmail2 Digital Mailroom completely transforms the law firm’s paper centric mail into a secure and efficient digital operation that enables the hybrid work environment.

With Airmail2, skilled mailroom staff (those that can accurately determine appropriate client-matter-folder) can profile scanned mail items directly to the DMS.  This is accomplished without the need to provide direct access to the DMS (which should be reserved only for qualified legal staff and attorneys).  The benefit of this approach is the shift of the profiling step from legal staff or attorneys to the mailroom team.  Airmail2 also supports profiling scanned mail items by recipient (easily determined by addressing information on the mail item)  – a method that is deployed to mailroom staff who are less skilled.

The scan-to-email solutions firms conjured as a response to the pandemic were only designed as a stop gap and never intended for long-term use. The hybrid legal workplace is here to say. Airmail2 Digital Mailroom enables productive, secure delivery of daily mail directly into the DMS. Learn more about the Airmail2 and how to transform your law firm’s mailroom and institute best practice principles for security and governance in our latest white paper here.

[1] https://inoutsource.com/ethical-walls-and-confidentiality-screens-not-just-for-conflicts/ )

3 10, 2022

Security Risks and IG Concerns Drive Improved Digital Mailroom Operations ILTA Peer to Peer Magazine Article

2022-10-03T09:41:54-07:00October 3rd, 2022|Featured, Paper2Digital Blog|

“At the most basic level, when the law firm mailroom delivers a scanned mail item via email attachment, the firm has lost control over the document.”

Joseph C. Scott, J.D.
Joseph C. Scott, J.D.Senior Director of Client Engagement

International Legal Technology Association Logo Used With Permission

PEER TO PEER – FULL MAGAZINE ISSUE 3 | Vol. 38

http://epubs.iltanet.org/i/1480787-fall22/13

22 09, 2022

How Digital Mail Operations Expose Firms to Risk

2022-09-22T10:16:12-07:00September 22nd, 2022|Featured, Paper2Digital Blog|

How Digital Mail Operations Expose Firms to Risk

The article originally appeared in Legaltech News: Here

Security is a funny thing.  For it to work, you have to do it all of the time.  Wearing a seatbelt half the time isn’t a good strategy.  Wearing the seatbelt every time is.

Sending scanned images of inbound, daily mail via email attachments is a ‘scan-to-email’ method that was never intended to be a secure, permanent operation. This was only a temporary solution conjured in response to the pandemic crisis. So why are law firms still doing it this way? The only answer is that nothing bad has happened- yet.

But something bad will happen because it’s not secure.  We don’t have our seatbelts on. Sending scanned images of paper mail as email attachments creates these risks:

  • Lack of governance. When documents are sent as email attachments, the exchange occurs outside of the document management system (DMS), the technology intended to secure and govern them, multiplying risk exposure across the firm.
  • Cybersecurity risk. Along with the rise of remote work, cybersecurity threats have increased by 3x. Email attachments expose the firm to these risks.
  • Conflicts, PII and more. When an email message goes to the wrong recipient or an attachment contains personally identifiable information (PII), firms are exposed to conflicts or significant regulatory fines resulting from lack of compliance with GDPR, CCPA and other regulations.

Security and governance of their information is the number one issue keeping clients awake at night. Firms must take the right steps to secure client information from the moment it arrives. Firms that do not secure client information from the moment of arrival are at risk of an event no one wants. In short, we need to wear our seatbelts all the time.

Lack of Governance

At the most basic level, when a law firm mailroom delivers a confidential file via email attachment, the firm has no control over the document and cannot govern or secure it. Scanned mail delivered as a PDF email attachment often goes to more than one person, so the exposure is multiplied, then subject to the behavior of all receiving parties. Recipients can open attachments on their desktop, circumventing conflicts, or confidentiality, share the file with other attorneys, staff, or external entities outside the confines of the firm’s information governance policies.

And during this process, sending a document by email attachment means the file exists on the Exchange Server, not the DMS. It may then be stored in multiple locations on multiple devices including local computers, network folders, other recipients’ mobile or desktop inboxes, other mail servers and more.

 Cybersecurity Risk

Email is the #1 attack vector for cyber criminals. Users are attacked at the inbox, and the organization is attacked at the email server. Building a permanent daily mail scanning operation on top of this exposure zone is unwise, and unnecessary.

Another risk factor is wrong recipient error. Organizations with over 1,000 employees send approximately 800 misdirected emails every year. That is a rate of more than two emails per day, making it the most common type of error to cause a breach.

The System of Record is the DMS

Wrong recipient occurs most often as a result of an erroneous auto-fill in the send field – but wrong recipient is not the only risk caused by an unintended auto-fill in the send field.

The other negative consequence is unintended conflicts risk.  Email is not a technology that can check for conflicts nor build ethical walls to ensure that only the intended parties of a communication have access to that communication.

The technology for this is the document management system (DMS).

Client information arriving by postal mail needs to be scanned directly to the firm’s document management system (DMS) and be available to users only by a link to the DMS. Simply put, the DMS is the technology of choice for 98% of all law firms to protect and govern sensitive client information and why it is regarded the firm’s “system of record.”

For instance, a wrong recipient “may” occur when receiving an email with a link to the DMS, but the recipient wouldn’t be able to open the link if they were not assigned access.  That’s security.

Not only does DMS secure and govern client information but it is also the technology that helps firms comply with regulations such as The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) at scale. These regulations mandate, among other requirements, that firms be able to classify, track and, if requested, delete personal data held anywhere by the firm. This is effectively impossible with scan-to-email.

This is what it means to build a best practice solution and not an expedient solution.

 Ethical Obligations

Direct-to-DMS delivery of digital mail is not just a good idea, but potentially an ethical duty of a law firm. Several of the ABA Model Rules are particularly related to safeguarding client data, including competence (Model Rule 1.1), communication (Model Rule 1.4), confidentiality of information (Model Rule 1.6), and supervision (Model Rules 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3).

What do these duties require? When using technology, they require that we employ reasonable measures to safeguard the confidentiality of client information, that we communicate with clients about our use of technology and get informed consent from clients where appropriate, and that we supervise subordinate attorneys, law firm personnel, and service providers to ensure compliance with these duties. In comparison to the capabilities of how a DMS protects client information, email is not a reasonable measure.

Conclusion

Security of client information isn’t a part time job.  We’ve got to wear the seatbelt at all times and, unfortunately, the way many digital mailrooms now operate expose the firm to a multitude of risks.  We don’t need to wait for the unfortunate event to happen – firms can act on this today and install the right technology that integrates digital mail with the DMS.

15 06, 2022

Understanding Clients’ IG and RIM Best Practices with Cadis Stuart-Hodges

2022-06-15T13:03:30-07:00June 15th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

Understanding Clients’ IG and RIM Best Practices with Cadis Stuart-Hodges

Cadis Stuart-Hodges, IGP, CRM

We spoke with Cadis Stuart Hodges, IGP, CRM, who joined DocSolid earlier this year as Senior Director of Services.  Prior to joining DocSolid, Cadis spent over 15 years inside of law firm’s IG and Records departments and was the Director of Records for Drew, Eckl & Farnham.

Since she joined, Cadis has been overseeing DocSolid’s Consulting and Professional Services divisions, adding value to clients’ IG and RIM best practices for Airmail2 Digital Mailroom and Digital Records Room implementations. We caught up with her to see how her new role is going.

DocSolid:  How do you see your role as Senior Director of Services at DocSolid?

Cadis: I am in the constellation DocSolid management helping to make sure that our implementation staff and our consultants have everything they need to serve our customers. Helping the services staff and even our sales people have a good view of the important parts of the information governance journey for law firms is also part of my day to day. My role is to make sure that our customers have the best experience while also ensuring their Airmail2 and records room solution is an industry best practice for all the firm’s important processes:  IG, records, and security.

DocSolid:  Why is IG, security and records and information management important for a digital mail room?

Cadis: The most important reason is risk  management which is a huge part of the  legal landscape. The thing that you are always trying to do is to keep your risk as low as possible as a law firm. It’s how you build procedures. It’s why you have client guidelines.

Your biggest areas for risk is your client information.  That’s the client’s trust in you, that’s your bread and butter, how you’re working every day. The last thing that you want to do is put a process in place that keeps your client information less secure or exposes you and your client to an external threat that could have been prevented.

The way that IG helps you manage that is by creating and implementing the processes around that information that keep it secure.  You need to know at all times where your data lives, what format it’s in and how you are transmitting that information around your firm.

Airmail2 closes a huge gap in that risk because Airmail2 does not put client information out into your whole system. With Airmail2, you’re putting your information directly where it needs to go–the DMS–because your DMS is where you govern all of your data, all of your document information, all of your client information, your mail ingestion, your emails back and forth, your documents that you produce for work, your client produced documents–all of that is governed in the DMS.

With Airmail2, you’ve got an end to end, auditable process. It gives you the pathway to ingest information and put it directly where it needs to be governed—in the DMS—which reduces a firm’s risk immeasurably.

When you’re doing things in a more hodgepodge way, you’re attaching stuff to email or you’re having people open PDFs on their phones, or they’re forwarding PDFs, or they’re sending a copy to themselves and the entire team. There’s no definitive version of that information. You don’t know who’s going to put it into the DMS or if it will make it there at all.

You avoid all of that by having a definitive copy that is immediately put into the DMS from the Airmail2 system.

 DocSolid: Give us an example of a specific IG challenge that our clients have been facing.

Cadis: A common resistance we face is that people still want a copy of that PDF in their email—when what they really need is what we provide:  a direct link to the DMS that opens the document directly. I think a challenge that we’re currently facing is that people want to have that information on the go and what we help them to understand is that they need their document management systems to be what is available on the go, not PDFs in your email.  Best practice is never to have that PDF in your email at all, this is something that we help firms understand.

DocSolid: Have you had some recent successes in helping some clients improve their IG policy around their digital mail room?

There are several recent success stories at a wide range of firms – from a 100+ attorney firm to one of the world’s largest firms–where DocSolid came in and looked at their process and revamped them all together. These firms were all-in immediately and completely prioritized IG and security of their client information. A key factor, especially in the larger firm, was the top down leadership endorsement of the project which essentially did not allow for deviation from our IG-driven processes for digital mail.

Overall, I am seeing more and more firms understand the importance of the governance piece and that is a victory—for the firms. Security of information is driving it – and the dovetailing of security with governance is a trend we will see more of and a positive one if it pushes firms to implement best practice processes over their sensitive client information.

8 06, 2022

The Great Hubbub: Top 3 Reasons Users Love Airmail2 Hub

2022-06-08T13:20:26-07:00June 8th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

The Great Hubbub:  Top 3 Reasons Users Love Airmail2 Hub

Every day, new paper arrives in law firms in the form of documents delivered by UPS, USPS, or FedEx. Before the pandemic, it was custom to sort and deliver this new paper to the desks of folks responsible for its disposition. That all changed when the pandemic sent us home.  Suddenly, the daily mail was in the office, and we were at home.

Mail There and I’m Here

Firms innovated various workflows to bridge the gap. Email was a popular solution, although fraught with risks and efficiencies. Another solution was to continue delivering paper mail items to vacant desks.  Folks would then commute to the office on occasion to review the mail and send it to the appropriate “storage location” for safe keeping or disposal (the shred bin, the working file at home, or perhaps the file room).  Each “location” represented a separate workflow. Of course, another popular solution was to simply scan the inbound mail and send as an attachment to its recipients.

DocSolid took this as an opportunity to innovate.  We developed a Digital Mailroom solution which delivers daily mail directly to the DMS with email simply used to notify recipients of new mail. These notifications were sort of like hearing the rattle of the mail slot at the front door.

But the problem of the mail and the recipient being in different places still needed to be solved along with the concurrent problem of routing the paper version of the mail items to their appropriate “storage locations.”

The Hub Bub

The team at DocSolid went to work on how to “bridge the gap” between the location of the mail – which still arrives at the office – and the recipient who is working at home who needs to get the mail to the appropriate storage location, whether that is the file room or the document management system.

Bridging the gap meant giving the recipient a way to control the workflow of the paper mail even after it was digitized. The answer: the Hub.

The email “notification” sent by the DocSolid Daily Mail system includes access to a “Hub” which allows the mail recipient to communicate with the mailroom team back in the office where the physical mail resides.

The recipient can send messages to the office team that offer instructions on how to handle the paper mail items. Choices like “discard” or “hold for filing” guide the mailroom team on handling the paper mail. It’s simple and intuitive and helps resolve these 3 common user questions quickly and seamlessly:

#1 – When do I know I have mail to look at?  The Airmail2 system uses email but only when it’s efficient to do so.  It is very efficient to send an email (a notification) to a mail recipient letting them know they have mail (yes, “you’ve got mail”).  The recipient doesn’t need to check for new mail – they’re notified when it arrives.

#2 – How does the recipient “route” the physical paper?  The mailroom back in the office is busy scanning paper mail. The recipient is at home and is notified of new mail – and can examine it in the DMS.  But how does the recipient let the mail room know where to dispose of the mail?  It could be a request to “place on desk” or “forward to records” or “shred” (yes – shred … for the intrepid). The ability to provide this disposition instruction is built into the Airmail2 Hub.

#3 – How does my colleague know about new mail?  The Airmail2 solution supports “pairings” – matching other folks with the mail recipient so that all appropriate folks are notified of new incoming mail. This is managed by the Airmail2 system which can update pairings as they change (for reassignments, vacations, etc.).

26 05, 2022

Optimizing Your Mail and Records Room for the New Reality: Hybrid is Here to Stay

2022-06-08T09:48:19-07:00May 26th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

Optimizing Your Mail and Records Room for the New Reality: Hybrid is Here to Stay

The data from Cushman & Wakefield’s latest report, “Office of the Future Revisited: Three New Realities Shaping Hybrid Workplace Strategies,” suggests that almost half (40%) of the workforce will choose to remain in remote positions for the foreseeable future. If this is true, then law firms need a digital mailroom and digital records room operation that is secure, efficient, and reflects the needs for this new way of life.

Cushman & Wakefield’s report analyzes three new realities:

  • Office Space is Still in Demand
  • Hybrid is Here to Stay
  • Role of the Office has Changed

The data behind of each of these realities has drastic implications for law firms and organizations creating their office workplace strategies moving forward.

As firms begin to create their return to office strategies, it is important to factor in how the data of these realities will impact law firm security, efficiency, and attorney productivity.

Reality One: Office Space is Still in Demand

Demand for office space is finally returning for much of the world—and it is being driven by job creation. The world is seeing employment return to the levels it was before the onset of the pandemic. This accelerated growth is pushing more companies to feel the need to return to office or offer their employees the option to return to pre-pandemic office life.

Reality Two: Hybrid is Here to Stay

As organizations and firms create their return to office strategy, one thing is becoming clear: It is time to embrace hybrid. Instead of forcing attorneys and staff back into the office, firm and office leaders must cultivate a common understanding that will optimize employee experience for the limited time that staff is working in-house.

Reality 3: The Role of the Office has Changed

As the office becomes a less permanent staple in the lives of employees, the role of the physical office continues to evolve. Most organizations believe the office is now a place that can cultivate and build culture which can be used to inspire creativity and innovation. With that being said, this shift in mind set, coupled with the realization that hybrid is here to stay, is deemphasizing individuals and their dedicated desks. Instead, offices are focusing more on collaborative spaces and desk sharing.

The Normal NowTM

While these three realities are distinct, they are not all exclusive of one another. All three affirm that the workforce will dictate the next steps for law firms and organizations. While the workforce retains the leverage, hybrid is here to stay according to the data in Cushman and Wakefield’s report.

At the time of the report’s release, there are over 11 million job openings coupled with a 3.6% unemployment rate. The demand to fill roles has provided workers with the leverage to demand workplace flexibility like a hybrid schedule or work from home.

As of the last quarter of 2021 nearly half (40%) of the workforce indicated that they would prefer to never work full-time in office. One fifth of the workforce indicated that they would be open to a hybrid option. With 40% of the workforce stating that they would prefer to never work in office full-time. It is imperative for firms and organizations to create a hybrid workplace strategy that works well for employees and operationally.

A Best Practice Digital Mailroom and Records Room for a Hybrid Workforce

As attorneys and staff change the way they work, the delivery of client mail and requests for physical matter files must change as well. Scan-to-email work arounds that were put in place when the workforce first went remote were only tolerable as stop-gap emergency measures because they present real security risks.

Daily mail is mission critical because it contains client information that is confidential and time sensitive. Attorneys and staff working from home need a reliable, secure method for digital delivery. A daily mail process that relies on the conventional scan-to-email approach is not secure because it was never designed for this purpose.

A best practice digital mailroom operation delivers mail directly into the document management system (DMS) where sensitive client information is kept secure 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 DMS.

Security is just one of many reasons why law firms need to design a digital mailroom. It is also essential to keep attorneys and staff productive, no matter where they choose to work.

Airmail2 Digital Mailroom and Digital Records Room are direct-to-DMS solutions with certified integrations for iManage and NetDocuments. Transform your firm’s paper-based mailroom and records room functions into streamlined, digital operations with a flexible design that supports work-from-home, hybrid, and return-to-office strategies.

Read the full report by Cushman & Wakefield Here

6 04, 2022

Top Information Governance Principles for your Mailroom

2022-04-06T06:09:23-07:00April 6th, 2022|Paper2Digital Blog|

Top Information Governance Principles for your Mailroom

Do Information Governance principles now apply to your firm’s mailroom?

Mail has been a perfunctory function aligned with other physical office services, but the pandemic shifted mail to a critical, and digital operation.

Mail workflows include sensitive client information, launch new work, and therefore often billable activity. This means matter-centric record creation is starting right from mail delivery, not later, from a pile on a desk, even if it be a digital pile on a virtual desk. Protection and integrity of client information has always been a part of our client agreements. Scanning to a digital format does not negate our obligations to sort this information correctly at the beginning of the process.

Since scanning and document description is involved, it is more technical as well. This brings in issues of data compliance and availability but also transparency and accountability from new processes created for the mail distribution. In short, no matter who this process belongs to organizationally, it needs to be a part of your well thought out Information Governance policy, and refined on an ongoing basis, just like any other records management.

Let’s simplify to just three areas of focus for your current digital or ‘soon to be digital’ mailroom operation. Below the 8 “generally accepted record keeping principles” registered as the “The Principles” by ARMA, have been highlighted for you in the areas of focus.

Stakeholder Consultation.  This all-important key sponsorship ties the Digital Mailroom (DMR) to the firm’s ever-growing maturity on conversion to digital matter files.

Setting attorney expectations of ‘maximum electronic delivery and storage’ for overall firm efficiency helps create the all-important buy-in. The greatest success of a mailroom modernization project is standardization across all locations and practice areas which cannot be achieved without strong firm leadership.

A documented, smooth-running mailroom can only be achieved with a design driven by:

  • Accountability from senior management, and
  • Transparency of purpose toward overall law firm record keeping goals.

Protection of Sensitive Data.  This concept is paramount in today’s legal environment (See the current LIFGS white paper on Client Information Governance Requests[i]). Monitoring and auditing tools such as logs of mailroom processes must be used to ‘trust and verify’ as well as safely satisfy internal, as well as external, compliance and potential audit criteria.

Much law firm mail will end up classified as a record, so every bit of accurate metadata added along the way adds integrity to these document classifications and the overall process. Adding further to the integrity, records policy can be amended to start in the mailroom, rather than documenting records only at the time of transfer to longer term storage repositories.

Comprehensive Chain of Custody.  Firms must maintain a comprehensive chain of custody– ‘cradle to grave’ – from mail receipt and opening, sorting/naming/scanning, through a short physical retention and shredding.

In cases of, admittedly, necessary secondary physical delivery, we must minimize and document that process. Adding documentation at this step like “We mark here in the log we were asked to drop it to a desk after scanning the envelope,” is crucial to maintaining the chain of custody in these situations.

Providing fast and appropriate availability of mail items along the way to careful and documented disposition, makes the law firm more competitive, as well as providing a defensible protection strategy for key client and law firm files.

[i] https://www.ironmountain.com/resources/whitepapers/h/how-the-landscape-has-changed

4 04, 2022

Secure and Efficient by Design – ILTA Peer to Peer Magazine Article

2022-07-27T12:54:59-07:00April 4th, 2022|Featured, Paper2Digital Blog, White Papers and Articles|

ILTA Peer-to-Peer Magazine Thumbnails
ILTA Peer-to-Peer Magazine Cover

“The typical scan-to-email approaches are short-sighted and, in many ways, dangerous.”

Michael Herzog
Michael HerzogDirector

International Legal Technology Association Logo Used With Permission

PEER TO PEER – FULL MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 | Vol. 38

http://epubs.iltanet.org/i/1463380-spring22/33

28 02, 2022

6 Tips to Optimize Attorney Productivity with Digital Mail

2022-02-28T07:35:24-07:00February 28th, 2022|Featured, Paper2Digital Blog|

6 Tips to Optimize Attorney Productivity with Digital Mail

The Arc of Time:

Do you remember the introduction of the fax machine? It was a primitive first step but had a dramatic impact on the practice of law. Documents could be moved in minutes rather than hours (and in a bit of irony, the paper document was converted back to paper after having been digitized – but that soon changed with the advancement of email). Examples such as these are numerous and have meant that over the arc of time, the practice of law has moved along the path of digital transformation to become more productive.

The business of law has been the beneficiary of a continuous stream technology which has made the literal practice of law more productive. Much of these advancements have helped us move along the path of digital transformation. Digital transformation takes place at the intersection between technology and process. As technology has advanced, the implementation of technology has often meant changes to the process of the practice of law.

Digital Transformation Comes to the Mailroom:

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “process” of handling incoming mail had not advanced since the invention of the stamp. As the pandemic moved us out of the office and away from our incoming mail, the old process became much less efficient. Recipients either had to travel to the office to get their mail, have it re-delivered to their homes, or perhaps the mail was “digitized” and delivered electronically.

Digital Mail and Attorney Productivity:

The digital transformation of the mailroom has begun and the opportunities to leverage this transformation will yield improvements in attorney productivity with appropriate changes in the process of mail delivery. Here’s how:

  1. One obvious benefit is that digital mail can be delivered faster than paper mail. This improvement in speed of delivery means that responses happen sooner. In some instances, this quicker response can be critical.
  2. Digital mail can pass through a “quality control” step to assess the quality of the scanning process. The impact is that attorneys are not pestered with poor quality scans which can be hard to read or worst case – incomplete.
  3. Another benefit is that digital mail can be delivered to the firm’s repository-of-record, typically the document management system. This assures that security rules and ethical wall rules are applied (automatically by the DMS), editing contention is managed, and versions are carefully controlled.
  4. Digital mail is searchable. A DMS user can use DMS search tools to query “today’s mail” for specific content –making it possible for the attorney to assess and respond more quickly and certainly more easily.
  5. Digital mail is easier to share as needed. Rather than making copies of a paper mail item, the electronic version can be easily shared among team members as needed.
  6. Once a mail item has been digitized, it can be managed “in stream” with other digital content for compliance purposes. This is essential in situations where records are under scrutiny.

The digital transformation has come to the mail room.  As technology advances, so too does productivity and efficiency. The digital transformation within the law firm mailroom allows for corresponding improvements in the mail receipt-and-delivery process. The arrival of new technology and processes are yielding improvements in productivity and efficiency – an important step forward.

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