stay connected facebook twitter YouTube LinkedIn
Forefront eNewsletter


Getting Adoption for Your Scan Program

If law firms can agree on one issue, it’s that they have a paper problem. And while they may have dreams of becoming paperless, the reality is that it’s nearly impossible to achieve it. Intelligent firms are instead taking an iterative approach we call “paper-less.” Such an approach relies upon the ability of legal professionals to quickly and easily scan any and all new documents. In order to build a truly successful strategy—one that actually will be embraced by all firm employees—it is crucial to devise a process in which all scanned documents are handled the same way, no matter where and how they are scanned.

Have a retention policy. Set procedures to scan and destroy the hard copy of any documents allowed by the retention policy. This caps the amount of paper at current levels, other than the few additional paper documents that must be kept.

Implement quality control. Lawyers will adopt the process faster if they see good quality control. This includes verifying that scanned documents are in the correct location with the correct names and all pages have been scanned correctly. Best practices also dictate a waiting period of 30 to 60 days before shredding and a full audit trail.

Scan even upon retrieval. Make sure that no documents (except those for which hard copy retention is required) ever get sent to offsite storage; this includes boxes that are retrieved from storage in the course of business. Even these documents should be scanned and stored in the document management system and shredded. Remember, the goal of this program is not to remove all paper from the firm overnight. However, consider the impact of a reduction of even 5% per year.

Scan every day. The only way this program can work is if scanning becomes a part of the firm’s daily workflow, which means changing the behavior of legal and administrative professionals. The key to achieving this is simplicity. Scanning must be simple from any device in the firm. Lawyers and legal assistants need to easily be able to scan from any device.

Provide a variety of onramps. One issue that firms run into is that they don’t have similar processes for scanning from anywhere in the firm. Some users want to decide how their scan should be processed and routed by entering information into the device. Others prefer barcode cover sheets. Some have private scanners on their desktops. The firm’s technology should support all options.

Take a uniform approach. Different scanning devices have different interfaces, confusing professionals throughout the firm. The best way to get good adoption on any new process or technology is to make following the new process the easiest thing to do. All scanned documents should be sent automatically and directly to a specific destination, ideally the firm’s document management system (although due to past practices, the ability to scan directly to a network folder or via email or fax should be retained). Regardless, workflows must be standardized so all users, whether front office or back office, have the same experience and all documents are handled in the same way.

This article was first published in ALA Currents newsletter’s October 23, 2014 issue titled "Getting Adoption for Your Scan Program" and is reprinted here with permission. For more information about ALA, visit


nQueue's Information Accountability (iA) provides cost recovery data to improve firm billing and expense management for cost reduction, process workflow for control and efficiency and business intelligence to enhance firm profitability. Click here for more information.

Back to front page   |   Contact Forefront