Searchable PDFs and other technology allow legal offices to go digital

November 26, 2012

Different industries produce different amounts and types of paper files – hospitals have patient records and publications produce articles, but one industry with especially large numbers of paper files is the legal industry. Law offices often produce tremendous amounts of forms and documents that are both vital and expensive to keep up with, but legal firms that have gone digital with a bulk scanning service have been able to come up with suggestions to make the switch.

Being able to produce documents quickly sends the message of capability to clients, and with digital documents, law firms can email files anywhere. However, to be able to find documents easily, often just scanning forms is not enough. Bulk scanning services can create searchable PDFs so offices can find text in the form itself – a feature that is definitely not available for paper documents.

The legal industry in particular deals with security issues not found elsewhere. Digital documents can be password protected so that only an authorized few can view them. Wet signatures – using a finger or specific pen to sign documents on tablets or other touchscreen devices – is becoming more popular, and the Obama administration even used digital signature technology to allow residents of 10 U.S. states to register to vote. In law offices, wet signatures would allow more meetings to take place over video conferencing, adding another level of convenience and efficiency.

Richard Keyt, an Arizona lawyer who owns a small law firm, says in a blog post that going paperless allowed him to save almost 50 documents a day from being printed, and even more as his firm grew. Currently, his firm has over 140,000 digital documents.

By using document scanning services, law firms and other paper-heavy offices can access their documents quickly after creating searchable PDFs that otherwise would have taken much longer to produce.