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Time Is Running Out on Excuses Not to Go Paperless

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Give me one good reason not to go paperless.

Having trouble? That's because you are in a paperless world. You are reading this very article on a digital screen. It's the future.

Maybe 20 years ago, when only a handful of law firms and courts had gone paperless, it would have been excusable. But today, basically every court requires electronic filings and even the trash can is an icon on your computer.

"In sum, some courts have been paperless for nearly two decades and the rest are in the process," says Sam Glover for the Lawyerist. "Malpractice insurers are paperless and recommend it."

Paperless Is Powerful and Profitable

Millennials are pushing the economy in many ways, including the law business. Well-grounded in everyday technology, they provide backbone services for the modern law firm. They know how to scan paper files, store electronic records in the cloud, and utilize everyday tools like iPads and smartphones to perform research or read documents.

Previously, lawyers could, in good faith, charge clients for time spent completing backbone services with paper files. But now, tech-literate lawyers can lower the prices of tasks to the point that they can almost charge flat fees for their services.

An Obligation for Old School

It has been more than a decade since the American Bar Association challenged attorneys to keep up with technological changes in the profession. The comment to Professional Rule 1.1 on professional competence provides that "to maintain the requisite knowledge and skill," a lawyer "should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology."

Glover, who went digital in 2005, said he did it on the advice of his malpractice insurance provider. He said the insurer had already gone paperless, and recommended it to members as a best practice.

So have you thought of a reason not to go paperless yet?

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