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    March 6th, 2009

    ♫  Go ahead and rip up, rip up the paper
    Go ahead and tear up, tear up the paper…

    Lyrics and music by David Byrne, recorded by Talking Heads.

    There are many reasons for taking a law practice towards a paper-less (or digital) workflow implementation.

    For one, you are reducing the volume of files and paper that you have to purchase, print, handle, store and eventually, destroy.

    Two, you are able to search and find documents quicker and easier if all documents are in digital (searchable) form.

    Three, as government registries and courts come on-line, you can create, sign (digitally), file and send documents in electronic form.

    Four, you can not only send documents to clients and others electronically, but you can also create extranets, which are private areas on the web created for specific projects – for a litigation file, for a specific closing or for all files related to a specific client.

    Five, we have seen war rooms created on the web where one client (ie a corporate defendant) can host common documents, briefs, pleadings etc that relate to related litigation being undertaken in disparate jurisdictions. These war rooms can save substantial dollars by eliminating the need to continually recreate the wheel.

    Six, law firms scan and transmit incoming paper documents, allowing the firm to bring into their electronic filing system all paper-based correspondence.

    Of course there are many others, but this is just a taste of where implementing the digitalization of paper can take a law practice.

    With this in mind, there are many packages available that allow a BC law firm to create and file documents electronically:

    • In the Land Title Office:  There are now four providers of conveyancing software that allow a law firm to create and file documents electronically in the LTO:
      • Pro-Suite (NEW!) from the Notaries Society (annual fee includes training, upkeep and maintenance, no per-transaction charge).
      • Brief Convey powered by Stewart Title (per transaction charge)
      • e-Convey by OneMove Technologies Inc. (per transaction charge)
      • Convey Master by R&D Systems Auditing Inc. (installation and first year maintenance up front and $25 per transaction until the purchase price is paid).
    • For corporate documents, you can create, maintain and share corporate documents electronically using ALF Corporate.
    • Rather than mailing documents to clients, use Adobe Acrobat to create PDF’s (and lock down the document in the process) and save trees, postage and handling costs (
    • Adopt practice management software: Amicus Attorney, TimeMatters, LawStream etc all can save time, paper and increase efficiency in a busy office by handling office administrative tasks and information electronically.

    These products and more allow us to just tear up the paper and move into a world where we handle our client’s matters using only electronic communications.

    This entry was posted on Friday, March 6th, 2009 at 9:08 am and is filed under Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    9 Responses to “The Paper-less Practice of Law in BC”
    1. Nicole Garton-Jones Says:

      In addition to practice management software, dedicated document management software like Worldox, iManage and PC Docs is very helpful in managing a paperless office.

    2. Leonard Says:

      David: May we schedule some time to introduce you to NetDocuments. You speak our language and we have hundreds of law firms from small firms to Dorsey & Whitney type firms using ND for going paperless, collaboratin with clients and avoiding email for attachments, etc. I like your articles and would like you to be familiar with NetDocuments. Please suggest a time for us to meet.

    3. Meg Langley Grainger Says:

      I see the benefits of reducing paper and embrace the convenience and efficiency of electronic document management.

      My struggle is with the stakeholders, peers and third parties who still require paper, which forces me to maintain a double set of documents at times – virtual and hard copy. And scanning in all the paper can be burdensome, especially on big litigation files. The effort is worthwhile in the long term, I think, but for now it’s like wearing a belt and suspenders.

    4. Ross Ipsa Loquitur Blog » Paper LESS: Now More Than Ever Says:

      […] Thoughtful Legal Management wrote about being Paper LESS in a British Columbian practice context here.  Dave need only to check in with my own client Douglas MacAdams, QC, of the MacAdams Law Firm, […]

    5. Mike O'Neill Says:

      I would have more confidence in if its website was not broken (its menu bar is buggy) If they can’t get simple web programming right, what will they do with my documents?

      Maybe that’s a bit snarky, but to make matters worse, I spent about 20 minutes at their web site and I can’t really figure out what they do and why or how they might be of use to me. I am very serious about going paperless, I am very interested in some kind of online document management, and it’s a shame that the netdocuments people can’t convey their mission more coherently, because if they did, I would probably end up being a customer. Amidst all their techies, they should hire somebody with communication skills.

    6. Leonard Says:

      Mike: Sorry to hear about your experience at the site. It’s getting updated soon so hopefully you will like the changes. The NetDocuments web-hosted document management service has been live for over 10 years, with over 400 law firms using it daily. It is a very reliable service with a 98% referenceable customer base.

      Give me a call at 801.722.6608 and I can assist you with your questions and regain any confidence lost. My email is

      What is NetDocuments? An online (SaaS) document managment service. What is document management? Organize, secure, share and search all your documents in a single repository. What is SaaS? Software-as-a-Service, where you don’t have to install any servers and loads of software on your PC to install the software. You just go to the web, login and access all your documents, anytime, anywhere. We do the rest!

    7. Acrobat Press – March 2009 « Acrobat Blog Says:

      […] 6 – The Paper-less Practice of Law in BC – David Bilinsky has a blog called Thoughtful Legal Management, in addition to being a staff […]

    8. Says:

      First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick
      question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.

      I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
      I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in
      getting my ideas out. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15
      minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure
      out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!

    9. The Paper-less Practice of Law in BC | Small Firm Success Says:

      […] For the rest of David’s article:  The Paper-less Practice of Law in BC. […]

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