‘We’re Going Paperless’ is a phrase that can be heard reverberating around the conference rooms and corridors of businesses up and down the country, and none more so than in the legal industry. With the introduction of a new online court system on the horizon, and the opportunity to provide a quicker, more cost effective service for clients, more and more firms are making the effort to go “paper-less”.
To remain competitive, Barrister Chambers are now feeling the pressure to adapt their own practices to embrace the changes seen in the way others are operating around them. It is therefore not surprising that the Chambers group, 7 Bedford Row, have decided to join the movement towards “paper-less” files and have announced that they will be encouraging documents to be received by solicitors via a Dropbox link.
According to the Law Gazette, the decision forms part of 7 Bedford Row’s ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility as well as their ongoing review of improvements to the service it offers its clients.
By deciding to go “paper-less” clients should see a quicker service, with lower costs in relation to printing and postal services. In fact, if “paper-less” cases are fully embraced, the legal sector as a whole should benefit, with overheads being reduced significantly. The need for DX and postal services will decrease, and rows of filing cabinets will become a thing of the past, providing the opportunity to potentially downsize office space and further reduce overheads.
Indeed some law firms have recently made the decision to cancel their DX service altogether, which is no surprise given the speed and ease at which solicitors send documents via email nowadays. In the past, large documents have been particularly difficult to attach and send via email, but through applications and sites such as Citrix Sharefile or Dropbox this is no longer a problem.
Of course, we are still a long way off the eradication of DX services altogether with many still relying on the familiar security and protection of the 40 year old service, a comfort digital technology has yet to provide on a similar level, with clients being all too aware of the dangers of cyber-crime.
Given the sensitive nature of the material Barristers consider, it is absolutely vital to their continued success, to ensure that all information is protected by the appropriate counter-measures, and clients can be assured of such protections when instructing Barristers in future. Such protections will need to be considered for both the Barristers internal servers, as well as any external data storage devices such as Dropbox which has been subject to a series security breaches in the past.
In conclusion, providing sufficient consideration and investment is made to safeguarding digital data, the decision for 7 Bedford Row to go “paper-less” is a much needed modernisation that should be embraced. As with any new policy or opportunity, there will be lessons to be learnt. Barristers Chambers should remain flexible and patient in order to get the correct fit for their clients and business, but with this forward thinking approach, clients will be provided with a quicker, more cost effective service, ensuring Chambers remain competitive in the legal market. Here’s to 7 Bedford Row being the first of many Chambers to join the “paper-less” movement!