I have had numerous inquiries from folks about our paperless system. I always tell people that going paperless is not a problem from a technology point of view. The hard part about going paperless is the process which workers have to follow in order to get the mail into digital form. We played around with a number of systems early on. Initially, we scanned every piece of paper first into a special file where I reviewed it like I would review mail in my inbox. This did not seem to work that well, since it tended to accumulate in my inbox. I ultimately decided that it was best to actually see the paper in paper form before scanning. We developed this document routing coversheet which identified the client matter, assigns an appropriate priority, provided for calendaring, scanning, routing, uploading to the extranet and filing. Essentially, we do everything that needs to be done with each piece of paper through our routing coversheet. If documents have to be forwarded to a client, virtual workers and the experts, it is all noted on the coversheet. Our staff scans the document and then each staff member who is involved in the process then performs the functions indicated on the routing cover sheet. They calendar the items that need to be calendared. They upload the document to the extranet where indicated. They send the document to the client, to workers, and others including experts and defense counsel. We indicate whether or not the document gets sent by email, mail, and fax or through our leap file system for larger files.
I also dictate all of the tasks associated with that document while I am working on the coversheet. So if an attorney has sent me a letter indicating that they refuse to provide further responses to discovery, I would dictate a series of to-do items which would result in a motion to compel.
Clearly, we spend a lot more time with the paper in document form than most firms spend with the paper altogether. After it is filed, I could always go back and make sure that everything that needed to be done with the piece of paper was in fact done. Each worker has a custom stamp which they can insert onto the specific task on the routing coversheet with their initials. So whoever uploads the document to the extranet stamps it with their initials. Whoever sends the document to the client and experts will also stamp the specified portion of the coversheet with their initials.
This system has worked wonderfully and has essentially erased any thought of going to a high end world docs system. I’ve uploaded the routing coversheet in Microsoft Word for viewing.