“One of the biggest changes in practicing law has been the progress made in technology,” said Ron Sheffer, founder of Sheffer Law Firm, PLLC. “When I started the firm in 1982, there were only two of us: me and my secretary. In those days, I dictated every letter, pleading and motion and she typed it. Then, I would review those documents and edit them. She would retype them and, if there were no mistakes, I would finally sign them. If there were mistakes, we would repeat the process. At a minimum, she touched each document twice and so did I. Then, after copying and mailing documents to each party in the case, she would spend hours each week filing. With computers and mobile devices, that has changed. Today, I rarely handle a document and most written communications are through email. That saves us time and our clients’ money,” Sheffer said.
Every attorney at Sheffer Law Firm, PLLC uses an Apple computer and an iPad. Storing and accessing electronic data has streamlined the process of preparing for important court appearances, mediations and depositions. “Before I started using my iPad, my paralegal would identify relevant documents I anticipated I might need, then make copies and put them in three-ring binders. Sometimes, I would have boxes of these notebooks that I had to take to court. Today, though, I have everything on my iPad.” Sheffer stated. “Our lawyers love their Macs and their iPads. Typically, each attorney has his or her entire caseload on an iPad and we find that this gives us a competitive advantage when we are in depositions or in court. Not only can we quickly find any document we need, but also we discovered that there are applications for the Mac and the iPad that help us be more efficient. Our clients realize that our efficiency decreases their legal fees and costs,” Sheffer continued.
“Now, we’re building on the knowledge we gained as a computer driven law practice by moving to the adoption of a paperless work environment. Every document that arrives in our office is immediately scanned and saved on our servers,” remarked Sheffer. “We continue our move to a paperless law practice by taking thoughtful incremental steps. For example, our lawyers’ daily mail is delivered to their email inboxes with PDFs of the documents they received from the postal service. By electronically “stamping” every document indicating when we received it and immediately saving it on the servers, the days of spending hours each week in the filing room are a thing of the past. Eliminating these time-consuming and mundane tasks allows everyone to concentrate on more important legal matters,” Sheffer said.
“Moving to a paperless work environment should not be done overnight,” he continued. “We are finding that the transition is much smoother if you break it down into manageable tasks and interim goals. We constantly monitor and assess whether a particular task can be streamlined. Obviously, one of our goals is to decrease the environmental footprint we leave at work, but also we want to insure that our clients are paying for the most efficient legal team they can. Whether we represent plaintiffs or defendants, we know that everyone wants to save money and, as their “partners” in legal matters, we want to help them achieve that goal. We are excited about this project and we hope that our clients realize that everything we do is for their benefit.” Sheffer concluded.