YourABA June 2012 Masthead

Making the transition: 15 steps (cont'd)

6. Train everyone on your document-management program and document-handling procedures. Provide dummy files that use a dummy drive to open matters; add and remove documents; add emails.

7. Load the document-management software with as much information as possible. Begin by adding contact and calendar items into the system. Also, load matters your firm is now handling. Don't worry about old and finished matters. As time goes on, if an old matter is revisited, then add it to the system. Over time, the database will contain all of the matters you will be handling.

8. Begin the process of scanning and profiling (tagging the document with information about the client, matter, date and other information) every document that comes in the door as well as emails. Do not destroy the documents. Rather, the system of filing should continue until you no longer use it.

9. Scan documents received before starting the system, from ongoing files only. In those cases, treat the documents as one would incoming mail, by scanning and profiling them.

10. In every task, use the document-management system to store and organize the material. This includes documents, emails, notes and calendar items.

11. Integrate document management with all of the programs you routinely use. Most document-management programs provide such integration as part of their systems.

12. Check to see that profiling properly organizes documents. While the old system is in place, compare what has been electronically saved versus by paper. The former should be complete.

13. Continue for several months. Identify ways paper is being used and look for paperless alternatives.

14. Pick a date after which all new files are done exclusively on the system. When you are comfortable that the system works, no longer rely on the papered system for new files.

15. Reach a level of comfort and convert completely to the new system.

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