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Reclaiming and reducing leased space for law firms

Like many professional services companies across the United States, large law offices have been left holding expensive leases for space they’re not using as the pandemic unleashes a storm of lockdowns and restrictions. Along with furloughs, pay cuts, and outright layoffs, COVID-19 is impacting even the largest, most stable agencies. Today, law firms are thinking about re-configuring and downsizing office space.

This office space revolution has inspired firms to:

  • Design for flexibility. This means making sure that conference areas can accommodate physical distancing for various sizes of groups.
  • Include single-occupancy rooms. Space designers are moving away from shared, collaborative spaces and turning towards private offices or shared stations, used by one person at a time, for staff who also work from home.
  • Clear space. Physical distance between people and workstations is now often mandated for the health and safety of clients and workers.
  • Going (mostly) virtual. Maintaining space designated for meetings only can reduce the cost of doing business by shrinking the lease and associated expenses, such as parking, utilities, and office support staff.

Digitizing legal papers and forms plays a big part in successfully reshaping your firm’s workspace, and it supports e-filing requirements as well as e-discovery efforts that are becoming common throughout the industry. You can turn documents of all sorts into searchable, digital documents reducing the need for physical file storage. In doing so, firms can reclaim storage space and make it easier for clients and staff to access information through shared, secure file management systems, such as PCLaw, LexWorkplace or ProLaw. But none of this is possible without the support of a solid scanning solution.

Choosing the right scanner

In addition to saving space, efforts to digitize legal documents can minimize loss of information, streamline communications and maintain security. If your firm has rooms of stored documents, you may decide to use a service, such as Iron Mountain, to make initial transition to a paper-free office. After that initial effort, you’ll want to supply your staff with scanners that fit their workstyles and needs. Another option is to rent a scanner. Fujitsu Computer Products of America offers RentScan, a program that allows businesses to rent a variety of scanners, including the fi-7900, on a monthly basis for back office projects.

Before choosing one or more scanner models, it makes sense to consider attributes such as ease-of-use, device size and portability, and compatibility with e-discovery systems like Everlaw and Nextpoint. In addition, particular functionality can be key. For instance, courts often have resolution requirements, and you’ll want to make sure any solution includes image cleanup software to be certain that you can deliver clear, acceptable images. You’ll likely want a machine that can handle items of various sizes and thicknesses, such as photo prints, legal size and double-sided documents as well as driver licenses and other forms of identification.

Successful data capture for today’s law firm

Determining which scanner works for your situation depends on the volume of documents you project, how your staff works most (in the office versus mobile), and whether or not you will be using the same machine for other scanning needs.

Working Remotely. As many law professionals are working from home, they’ll need a compact scanner that fits neatly on their desk or home office shelf. The fi-800R is an ultra-compact, stylish yet robust little scanner that not only scans batches of various sized documents, but also scans thicker or bound documents such IDs and passports. It also comes with PaperStream Capture software that will radically clean up scanned images, making file size smaller and enabling better OCR performance.

Built for Sharing. For professionals needing to collaborate and share documents across their firm or with third party agencies, the fi-7300NX fits the bill. The fi-7300NX includes its own server software, enabling integration with line-of-business software, such as Accounts Payable, or other file management systems. The scanner offers of choice to connect via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or USB, allowing it to be placed anywhere, untethered. It also features user authentication and a simple touch screen for customized job buttons.

Embracing the paperless office. Many scanners in the Fujitsu Image Scanner fi Series are perfect for larger offices that are handling the transition from file cabinets to digital file management without the help of a service. The Fujitsu Image Scanner fi-7900, for example, features a user-friendly design and is suitable for continuous high-volume scanning. Use this model to quickly scan documents of various sizes, shape, and form, including thin paper, plastic ID cards, envelopes and long page documents to help eliminate paper files in your records office.

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