A mid-sized Orange County based law firm had outsourced its Office Services and Records Departments for more than a decade, dissatisfied with the lack of leadership, vision and innovation was looking for a new direction. There was little to no integration between the Office Services and Records Operation resulting in frustration that they were not seeing user adoption on their technology investments.
Too much onsite and offsite space was being dedicated to storing paper and printed items of record that originated electronically and because there was no integration between the paper-based departments handling and processing the paper, they could not keep up with the pace. “And in a law firm,” the client noted, “time is directly correlated to money.”
-Mike Tidus chairs the Firm’s Environmental and Land Use Development Service Groups
Physically combine two departments into a single NEW BUSINESS INTAKE DEPARTMENT and design electronic workflows that intersect both. VDS’s first step was to introduce an Information Governance expert to access the firm’s “pains” which quickly lead to a combination of leveraging their existing technology and adding some new solutions like integration middleware to the new fleet of scan stations to initiate a scanning process and streamline their electronic forms workflow. Additionally, we developed a firm portal where virtually everything the new department does is exposed to everyone in the firm.
When a matter is closed, an automated workflow is generated and a dashboard is used to show what records are associated with the matter and the user is given the option to return them to the client, destroy them or take no action, however, nothing is forgotten as a dashboard now exposes the disposition status of everything. Tackling the firm’s dependency on paper required behavioral change through training so staff members could become more comfortable accessing their records electronically. All of this required a tight collaboration between VDS and firm management so we were not putting in new systems and keeping old habits.
The firm has not sent paper files to offsite in almost two years and have shrunk their offsite storage footprint drastically. They now have an automated retention and disposition process that keeps the file “footprint” in check. New Business Intake is entirely electronic, submitted and tracked from the firm’s intranet portal. Also copy, scan and reproduction jobs that used to go to the copy center now are submitted electronically and tracked through the firm’s portal. What was the records department now electronically organizes and in some case files for all areas of practice with the same amount of headcount that used to physically file and index mainly for one area. For those electronic documents that come into the firm directly to secretaries and attorney’s they are automatically dropped into the electronic workflow process and organized and audited by the intake department.
The firm is partnering with VDS to envelope email into the Information Governance solution.