While it often seems like successful law firms are the result of experienced, savvy attorneys, those who run such firms know that technology plays a vital role, as well.
Modern law firms need to manage dozens of active cases at once. Large firms often manage hundreds at a time. This would be impossible to do effectively without digital resources.
The same goes for the ability to quickly pull statutes, legal precedents, and past cases, all of which can help attorneys make their cases.
One of the most essential technologies attorneys have come to depend on for these reasons, and many more is optical character recognition (OCR).
What Is Optical Character Recognition?
Optical character recognition is a type of technology that can capture information from digital or physical documents (including handwritten notes) and transfer it into a centralized storage system.
It’s similar to the way a scanner works, except that the technology makes the captured data searchable just like any other digital word document. This searchability also applies to scanned barcodes in the storage system. These bar codes can be used to label whole files for easy indexing.
4 Reasons OCR Has Become Essential Law Firm Technology
Optical Character Recognition platforms have become popular throughout a variety of industries.
However, there are four reasons it has become especially common as a law firm technology.
1. Optical Character Recognition Allows for Instant Searchability
The most obvious reason for adopting this law firm technology is that it takes documents that would otherwise be unsearchable and makes them easy to index, search, and store.
To make their cases, attorneys may need to compile earlier cases, former rulings, newspaper articles, witness testimony, handwritten notes, and much more. Their job is often tough enough without the challenges that come from organizing all of this information.
OCR makes it simple to put it all in one place – a place that allows for easy searching. This will instantly transform the productivity of any law firm. No more long hours scouring through filing cabinets to locate required information.
2. Avoiding Human Error
Trying to organize all of this information manually exposes the process to human error. Unfortunately, even the smallest mistake – from missing an important page to transcribing a word wrong – could result in terrible consequences for a client.
Although optical character recognition platforms may not always be entirely accurate, the software does provide tools for improving confidence in their results.
Compared to the alternative of attorneys and paralegals manually pouring over boxes of documents, often for hours at a time, using law firm technology is far preferable.
3. Legal Work Entails Multiple Formats
Most law firms use Microsoft Word when creating documents. Scanners almost always turn documents into PDFs. Third-parties may send documents in any number of different formats (e.g., JPG, PNG, TIF, etc.).
This can make it extremely inconvenient – or even completely unrealistic – to manage all the different types of documents on which law firms rely. It’s not uncommon for a single case file to include three or more different formats. Cross-referencing them, much less compiling them, may be necessary, but it also becomes very time-consuming and, thus, expensive.
With an OCR, firms can compile all these different formats into one. This makes a single case – or even an entire library of cases – straightforward to manage and search, even remotely.
4. Going Paperless Is Better for Long-Term Efficiency
Many will advocate the importance of going paperless for environmental reasons. While that may certainly appeal to many law firms, there’s also the fact that relying on physical documents is impractical. As a firm continues to grow, year after year, it will need even more space to contain them all. It will also need to invest in necessary precautions to protect such documents as they may include crucial and sensitive information.
Every firm should focus on going paperless as soon as possible to avoid these problems and enjoy the two advantages listed above.
Leveraging Optical Character Recognition in Your Law Office
The right law firm technology is a key advantage for any lawyer. Without a doubt, one of the most important kinds of office technology is optical character recognition.
From improving productivity to protecting your vital documents for years to come, make sure that OCR is in your law firm’s toolbox.
Best of all, our team of experts can help. We’ll build your firm a best-fit solution based on your firm’s unique requirements without allegiance to any specific manufacturer.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make the most of this powerful technology.