It looks like it’s time to continue our discussion on how attorneys and law firms can use Evernote to improve their business.
Yesterday, I gave tips on how lawyers can organize their Evernote files more efficiently. Today, we’ll talk about another way to utilize Evernote in your business: Creating a paperless law office.
We’re going to look at four things:
First, let’s talk about how you can keep all your notes organized in a paperless fashion.
Second, we’ll look at how to deal with correspondence.
Third, we’ll tackle the issue of pleadings and discovery.
And finally, we’ll wrap up by looking at why Evernote is the best choice for a paperless solution.
If you don’t like clutter, read on.
But, if you’re a fan of the disorganization and stress, then:
1) This article is not for you.
2) You’ll probably end up a bit like this guy:
How Lawyers Can Start Using Evernote to Go Paperless
It’s time to ask yourself a few questions, things like:
“How many legal pads do I have scattered around the office?”
“How many sticky notes are all over the place with reminders or notes on them?”
And for the messiest of us: “how many sticky notes are attached to the computer monitor that you’re reading this article on right now?”
Don’t lie — I know you’re looking at the notes on your monitor right now. You’re not alone; about 45% of paper printed in an office ends up in the trash at the end of the day.
How many notes do you have, regarding cases, vendors, etc., in paper files?
Now ask yourself the big one: How much time do you spend looking for things in your office?
If you find yourself spending too much time searching for things in your office, Evernote might just be the solution you’re looking for. Evernote allows you to save notes that you type directly in the software and attach handwritten notes or other items.
Typing your notes and storing them digitally is often just more practical than writing them down. And the great thing about Evernote is that you can still integrate your handwritten notes when they’re preferable.
Integrating Hand-Written Notes into Evernote
When you’re performing a consultation, it’s easier to give the client your attention if you’re writing instead of typing.
And most attorneys prefer the ol’ pen and paper when they’re in court, too.
And when it comes to using pen & paper, the solution is simple. When you’re done with the consult, court appearance, or other tasks, you can scan the paper and attach it to a note on the software.
Once you’ve scanned and uploaded the note, then the piece of paper can be stashed in the following filing cabinet:
When you need to retrieve your scanned notes from Evernote, you can do so through the Evernote search functions in all of two seconds.
Setting Up Paperless Correspondence Files with Evernote
There are two forms of documents that should be in a paper correspondence file: Letters/faxes and printed emails.
Having all the correspondence on a case in one central location is important for obvious reasons.
But there aren’t many good ways to do this because of the email issue. If I send you an email and you respond, then the rest of your firm doesn’t have access to that email unless you print it.
Attorneys can quickly and easily get around this dilemma by creating a paperless correspondence file that the entire office can view, with Evernote.
Getting paper correspondence into Evernote is the easy part. Just scan it and attach it to note the way we discussed above. And to deal with the email issue we just mentioned, Evernote has plenty of helpful integrations that you can utilize to streamline workflows.
When you read and send emails, these integrations let you seamlessly send the emails straight into Evernote with an appropriate folder designation and tag. Voila, all of your law firm’s written correspondence and emails are now saved into an easily searchable Evernote correspondence file.
As of this writing, most of these integrations work with Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo mail.
If you’re still using Outlook, then 1) I’m sorry, and 2) you may want to read why Gmail is better than Outlook.
Evernote integrations can be set up and implemented, literally, in seconds.
Creating Paperless Pleadings & Correspondence Files with Evernote
It’s easy to set up paperless pleadings and discovery files in Evernote. Just follow the same process as the one above for written notes. There’s a significant benefit, however, of using Evernote for these items.
You will now have one awesome brief bank. If I do say so myself.
Think of how often lawyers and law firms assign tasks to law clerks and paralegals. Often, they’ll need examples of previous work.
And finding a good example often boils down to sifting through files in various client folders until you can find just the right one.
Having your pleadings in Evernote cures this. Say you assign your law clerk a Motion to Dismiss. All the clerk has to do is search Evernote for that type of pleading, and they’ll suddenly have every one your firm has ever done right there in a row, and they can easily skim the examples.
Going paperless just makes everyone’s life easier.
Want to Make Your Law Firm Paperless? Try Out Evernote
Why’s Evernote such a great paperless solution for law firms?
Simple, it allows you to be device and platform-neutral. There are excellent apps for both Windows and Mac, Android, and iOS. Not only that, but it works great in browsers too, so you’ll have access from any computer or Chromebook. All of this compatibility means that even if the people you work with use different devices, everyone can still access the things they need to with ease.
Going paperless is an easy way to increase efficiency, decrease clutter, and in the end — increase profit.
And one final benefit of Evernote is the advantage it will give you in court. All of your notes, pleadings, correspondence, etc. will be accessible on your mobile device and easily searchable. With the ability to find what you’re looking for in a matter of seconds. When’s the last time you could bring that level of documentation into Court? Probably not recently.
Have you considered going paperless with your law office? Is Evernote your solution of choice? Please feel free to chime in on the comment form below.
Want to learn another easy way to simplify your law office? Read our guide on using G Suite.