The Covid-19 crisis forced law firms to change their working practices drastically overnight. Remote working and digital transformation had floated on and off the agenda of partner meetings for years before March 2019, but hands were forced with the introduction of the lockdown.
Firms are now looking positively towards the future and are asking themselves serious questions about what that will look like. What will return to pre-Covid conditions, and what will be embraced as part of normal practice moving forwards? There has been a swell of enthusiasm towards remote working with many firms looking to embrace this as an option for employees more in the future, and wide recognition that concerns over productivity, connectivity, accessibility and trust have been unfounded
A key stumbling block for firms using traditional working practice at the onset of lockdown was receiving post. Firms have had to make drastic changes to how physical mail is received and processed.
Many firms are scanning post for the first time, opening, scanning and directing individual mail items one at a time via a scan to email function. This is a laborious task, often taking hours to process a relatively small portion of mail. It also leaves more work to be done at the back end by the Fee Earner receiving the correspondence, as they sort through incoming mail and file each item correctly in the case management system. In the event of staff absence, this cumbersome task can even fall to a partner or valuable practice manager.
As firms look to adapt to a workplace post-lockdown that is competitive, customer responsive and accommodates more remote working and flexibility to attract and retain talent, incoming mail processing remains a challenge. Many firms would like to seek the benefits of digitising their mail, but their current process of scanning is simply too time consuming and delivers limited benefits.
In contrast, Arena’s digital mailroom solution, mstore, allows law firms to process large batches of mail all at once and utilises optical character recognition (OCR) software to route mail automatically into the correct file in your case management system. Automated alerts also notify the fee earner of its arrival so they can jump on value generating tasks quickly and avoid being distracted by administration tasks that deliver no revenue.
Talking with an mstore customer from a Legal 200 law firm recently, the partner described to me how they can process 1000 pieces of mail from arrival to being available to the fee earner in the case management system within an hour, with the first pieces of post being with fee earners within 5 minutes of being scanned.
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Blog written by Tom Harrison, Arena's legal and financial sector specialist. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn here.