It may sound like a strange question but most law firms we talk to present themselves as being “paperless.” Note the quotations. The alleged stance of your paperlessness is on purpose because what we find upon further inspection – 4 times out of 5 – is you really are not truly paperless.

The concept of the “paperless office” as we find most of our clients describe it is deceptive. What do we mean by this statement? Let us explain. In most instances, the firms we talk to have a policy of electronically storing historic documents, client files and records. If we are describing you, well done, you have a good record keeping policy. For the purposes of this conversation, however, a strong document scanning policy does not mean you’re truly paperless.

We know. We hate to give good people bad news but we need to break it to you that scanning documents does not mean you are paperless. It means in the event of a natural disaster you will probably be able to still provide a legible copy of your clients’ documents to them. Does it mean you’re paperless? No.

Offended? Curious? Want to prove you really are paperless?

Let’s take our practice42 quiz.

Step One: Close your eyes (We realize this is hard sense you’re reading an email. Instead, get yourself in a space where you can focus).

Step Two: Put your smart phone in your left hand.

Step Three: Imagine you have just received a call your office has burned to the ground. No one is injured, insurance will recoup your property loss and more but for the next 90 days you will have access to nothing from your firm other than what you can access from your smart phone.

Step Four: Stop and think before your answer – can you run your law practice? What about from your tablet? From your laptop?

Step Five: If you answered yes (!) that business will continue as usual then you are paperless. If you cringed in fear or saw the gaps in the delivery of your law firm process, we have some work to do. Make a list of those gaps for us to discuss.

Being paperless is a constant commitment and for most businesses, a significant transition. Are we paperless? At work, yes. Our journey was started by our founder, Audrey Ehrhardt, JD, CBC, who wanted to be able to work from anywhere with just what she carried in a large purse. Did it take time to build our business ecosystem this way? Absolutely. Was it hard to get there? You bet. Was it worth it? Completely.

If you’d like to make going paperless a goal for 2017 and try it out in your practice, we invite you to join us for our Practical Technology webinar discussion on Tuesday, December 6th, at 4 pm (ET). This webinar is being offered to you – at no charge – as part of our Premier Practice Institute’s Practical Tech program. During this meeting, Audrey will personally share with you our blueprint for going paperless and share with you the tools you can use to make it happen in your firm.