Published to: 000113, 000116, A Small Town Lawyer's Perspective, Perspectives of a Small Town Lawyer, West Virginia Lawyer - Tips and Techniques
on April 12, 2012 8:57 pm
This is a set up at home. Not yet paperless, but with my Fujitsu Scansnap Scanner.
An echo from my Dear Colleague Letter arrived in my inbox yesterday. (This blog is my replacement for the letter I had been sending periodically to a mailing list of colleagues I had devised. When nearly 1/3 of the addresses got out of date and bounced back, I decided to try another route.)
Elkins Lawyer Scott Curnutte was kind enough to respond to the three forms I had devised for helping clients create “object lists”. Objects are the people, documents, events, physical objects, places and things that populate a case. I will send you the forms; just write me at firstname.lastname@example.org . If I don’t write back promptly, you may be in my spam filter. I check that weekly. Or give me a call, 304 472-7477.
Scott has slightly different definitions for the information he collects, but he has the programming skills to have his own database for organizing the facts that make up the case.I still use the commercial product, CaseMap and related programs by Casesoft/Lexis/Nexis, although Lexis/Nexis priced itself out of my range (a sole practitioner with several employees). The related programs are TimeMap (creates a visual timeline), NoteMap (an excellent outliner), and TextMap (a transcript indexer) . Their annual subscription costs will give pause to any sole or small practitioner, but their concepts and methods can be adapted to software such as Microsoft Works, Access, or Excel.
Our conversation turned to the Paperless Office. I learned:
1. We each scan every document that arrives at our offices. He uses a large industrial strength scanner. The person scanning enters her initials. I do not worry about who scans it, but we have our Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners (think bread box) at every desk. No one has to wait to use our big scanner, copier, which we keep busy with photocopies, black and white and color, faxing, and printing. We can still use it as a scanner, especially large volume scanning.
2. We each have stopped storing client closed files. We return them, or, with with client’s permission, destroy them. If the client ignores 2-3 reminders, those files also go into the bin for commercial shredding. I am in the process of disposing of @ 5000 paper files that have accumulated over more than three decades.
3. Neither office has been able to wean ourselves from maintaining a paper file. I have announced to my staff we are to be done with the paper file by the end of the year. By then, I hope to have the “new iPad” with two webcams, a crystal clear screen and better speed. It is essential, if I go to Court without the paper file, that I have the client’s file on my laptop and iPad. Redundancy is essential.
4. I will probably have to have a. A wireless portable printer; and b. A wireless portable scanner. With these, I will have the equivalent of a legal office with me in court. It is time for every courtroom to have a wide screen for viewing exhibits and visual presentations. We have a Lowes dolly and bring a 22″ monitor with us to court.
5. Scott shared with me, and authorized me to share with you, a link to the visuals he created for a seminar presentation he made on the creation of a paperless office, document production system. That link is: http://prezi.com/wznhs7fkdtcv/electronic-files/
6. Scott used an online product which he finds to be much better than Microsoft’s Powerpoint. I suggest you review Scott’s presentation, for office tips and a potentially useful product. We have all heard of “death by Powerpoint”, so any presentation product that can “jazz up” your presentations should be of interest to you.
This post was written by Burton Hunter