Are you letting filing cabinets hold you back?
Posted by: INSZoom | Date: December 18, 2014
Imagine this scenario: The partner walks out of his office and instructs his paralegal to bring him certain client files. The paralegal stops working on the form currently gracing her monitor and heads to the file room. After a few minutes, she's retrieved most of the files she needs but one. Not wanting to go back to the partner without all the paperwork he needed, she heads to the file's next most likely location… then the next…and then the next.
On some days, this scenario goes smoother than others and every file is pulled quickly. But, on days like the one imagined above, the partner would have to wait until the file became available from another attorney, which could be the next day if that person is traveling.
Partners should ask themselves: Should the office really work this way?
"Keeping an outdated and inefficient filing system will put immigration law firms behind."
The simple answer is no. It's 2014, and keeping an outdated and inefficient filing system will put immigration law firms behind in how many clients they can handle at once, and therefore, how much revenue they can bring in each quarter. Not to mention, the chance of success in every matter is reduced when attorneys' and paralegals' attention is divided and there's a risk critical information isn't available right when they need it.
The only tool needed to get rid of filing cabinets
Getting rid of paper files may seem daunting, but it only takes one tool to reduce the paper floating around the office: an immigration case management system. Firms should purchase a cloud-based case management program that smoothly integrates with its website, email and calendar. This way, the firm has a cohesive platform off which it can build a more efficient and successful practice.
Benefits of a cloud-based system
An immigration case management platform that uses the cloud will allow attorneys and paralegals to dramatically speed up their processes. In fact, they may not realize how much time they spent looking for files until they don't have to. With a cloud-based program, every form, pleading and petition is at each staff members' fingertips. Plus, no one will step on each other's toes when they need to work on one file at the same time – multiple attorneys can view the same document from their own devices.
The cloud-based system also improves business continuity. Firms that rely solely on paper run the risk of that paper one day not being there. While there's always a chance one file gets lost, there's the bigger risk that a fire or natural disaster will wipe out the entire file room. This danger is mitigated by storing all client and firm data in the cloud, which is continuously backed up and protected with state-of-the-art security.
Imagine a new scenario
The partner needs to review a particular client's file before heading into a meeting. Instead of asking his paralegal to leave her current work and bring him the file, he opens up the case management program on his laptop. With a few clicks he brings up the client's entire file and sets to work.
Wasn't that faster?
Once a comprehensive case management system has been installed and the firm has moved toward using fewer paper documents, every member of a firm can put more energy into doing substantive client work and spend less time tracking down immigration forms and files. Now that all staff members can review and add to files in real time through the cloud-based platform, no one has to worry another person will have the file when they need it.