With a growing client list and attorneys with varied disciplines in multiple offices, easy access to documents, efficient usage of space and cost-effective document storage and retrieval were priorities addressed by IMR Digital’s Scan-on-Demand Solution for the law firm of Mette, Evans & Woodside.
“Thanks to IMR Digital, our client responsiveness has increased dramatically.” Jeremy Redding, Director of Administration – Mette, Evans and Woodside
Founded in 1969, Mette, Evans & Woodside has a long-standing tradition of providing comprehensive legal representation. With offices in Pennsylvania’s capital city of Harrisburg, and Wyomissing, the firm’s practice reaches throughout Pennsylvania and into neighboring states. The multifaceted attorneys at Mette, Evans & Woodside provide clients with a breadth of knowledge. The firm provides legal services to financial institutions, facilities, organizations and individuals.
As with any legal practice, extensive documentation is critical to the process of providing counsel to clients. The challenge of managing client files for Mette, Evans & Woodside was compounded by the firm’s dual offices and multi-practice offerings.
Due to space limitations at their offices, the firm initially opted to store inactive client files off-site at a secure storage facility. However, with monthly storage fees and file retrieval fees, off-site storage was proving to be expensive and time-consuming.
With 5,000 boxes of client files kept in a large storage facility, the Mette, Evans & Woodside staff was averaging 17 requests for document retrievals each month. Not only was the retrieval process inefficient from a time management perspective, the process was costing the law firm excessive retrieval fees over and above their monthly storage rates.
Managing several offices and a diverse group of clients had made it impossible for the firm to retain archived files on-site. Prior to the implementation of IMR’s solution, secretaries or paralegals would place a call to the storage facility to have a particular file pulled and generally wait an entire day for its retrieval and delivery. Not only did this slow down work flow, it was becoming costly.
The advantage of the Scan-On-Demand solution is that scanned documents are always available and there are no more reoccurring storage facility charges.
Realizing the limitations of their current storage solution, Mette, Evans & Woodside consulted with IMR – Information Management Resources to develop a cost-effective, comprehensive solution to managing their documents. IMR proposed a dual solution. IMR’s Scan-On-Demand solution was able to convert the law firm’s paper documents to digital files, coupled with IMR Application Service Provider (ASP), a web-based document access system that enables users to access, view, edit and store all types of documents.
The nature of the law firm’s work made the conversion from paper to digital initially a tough sell to the staff; but after witnessing the ease of the process and security provided by the system, the firm was convinced that IMR’s proposal was the best option. Now, the firm is on the cutting edge of client service and document storage.
The first piece of IMR’s solution was Scan-On-Demand. The law firm identified which file boxes in storage should be pulled and converted into easily accessible digital documents. As new files were identified, the Scan-On-Demand converted the documents and made them available for the law firm’s use. Eventually, all of the firm’s stored files will be converted into digital files. The advantage of the Scan-On-Demand solution is that scanned documents are always available and there are no more reoccurring storage facility charges.
Simultaneously while files are being scanned, the firm is hand sorting, consolidating and shredding other files so that the entire archival system is up-to-date. The sheer volume of files makes the conversion a huge commitment for the firm and converting files as they are pulled allows the staff to sort through all the files and also spreads the cost of scanning out over time. With the extremely large number of files Mette, Evans & Woodside currently has archived, the firm has taken an as-needed approach to replacing their boxes with digital files.
The second component of the solution is IMR-ASP, a web-based document management system which provides users access to their digitized files from any location. Now, files can be pulled directly from an online system, with no additional charge and an immediate result. According to Director of Administration Jeremy Redding, “It is so much more convenient for us. It now takes seconds-not days-to secure a file.”
As an online solution, attorneys, paralegals and secretaries can log on and retrieve documents from the digital archives from any office or any location.
The IMR-ASP system also makes searches for documents more efficient. Users can run a search by simply entering search words and parameters. All search results are immediately displayed. Larger result displays can be easily refined by adding criteria to narrow down the search.
Because Mette, Evans & Woodside chose a web-based solution, there were no additional hardware or software requirements outside of what the firm was currently using. IMR provided two training sessions for potential users of the system and continues to provide technical support as needed. As an online solution, attorneys, paralegals and secretaries can log on and retrieve documents from the digital archives from any office or any location.
In addition to archived client files, the firm is also converting current back-office files to the document management system. This allows Mr. Redding to electronically access necessary documents like W-2s or other human resource files, something that has increased his office’s efficiency.
Implemented in the summer of 2009, Mette, Evans & Woodside is just beginning to recognize the benefits of IMR’s document management solution. Initial return on investment is evident with reduced file storage costs, more efficient document searches and faster access to archived documents. All of the improved document management results in greater client responsiveness.