♬ Don’t want to add more
complications to your life
but I’m sending this e-mail ♬
I have had several conversations lately on how to deal with email and in particular, in archiving it once a file is closed. As a result I thought I would post the summary of my discussions in this area.
Here is a summary of my thoughts on how to handle emails:
I see two general ways of proceeding.
One is to bring in a dedicated document management product such as Worldox (www.worldox.com). It is an award-winning application, used in thousands of offices including law offices and is very well received by lawyers. It is a total electronic document management system and will handle all documents in your office including emails.
If you don’t want to move to Worldox (and I would strongly advise any firm to seriously consider bringing in a dedicated document mangement application since the ‘file’ these days exists in electronic form), here is another solution involving Microsoft Outlook, SimplyFile (www.techhit.com), EzDetach (www.techhit.com) and Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional (not the Adobe reader: www.adobe.com).
Continue to use Outlook for your email management – and create folders in Outlook for each of your client files. Furthermore, create a folder and sub-folder structure on your network for each of your client files that mirrors your paper file: for example, you would create sub-folders for correspondence, pleadings, expert reports etc….
Your emails would come into the Outlook in-box as usual. Use SimplyFile to ensure that all emails (incoming and outgoing) are then filed into the right folder in Outlook as they are received and generated. Use EZDetach to separate the attachments and to place them on the proper client’s network folder or sub-folder. EZDetach allows you to file away the attachments without losing the attachment indicator (the ‘paper clip’ in the email). You can delete the attachment from the email if you wish, so long as you file it away on the appropriate sub-folder.
Now ..when it comes time to close the file and archive the data….
In Outlook…I would open each of the folders that contain that client/matter emails and ‘select all’ to grab all the emails in each of these folders.
Then I would “print” all the emails from within Outlook as one big Adobe file using Adobe Acrobat (standard or professional).
If the folder is large, the PDF may take a little time to generate, but all the formatting, colors, graphics etc are preserved and it will be fully searchable.
From there, you could take each of the separate client folders and sub-folders on the network…say: Correspondence, pleadings etc…and combine them into one big PDF package containing all the separate files (including the Outlook emails and network folders including the attachment folders) that together compromise the client’s file. From here you can burn the PDF package to a CD or DVD or move it into an ‘archive’ section of the network.
I think the Worldox method is cleaner, less-complicated and brings overall document management benefits to the firm, but I recognize that there will be others looking for a different solution. But all of us need to find ways to rescue our lives from the complications caused by email.This entry was posted on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 at 11:16 am and is filed under Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Make it Work!, 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.
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