Practically every task that takes place in the legal industry utilises paper. From deeds and contracts, to wills, leases, agreements, and litigations – the list of paper files that are necessary for the success of any task in this document intensive industry is endless. Mark Bailey is the Managing Director of EBM Managed Services, and below he talks to Lawyer Monthly about the benefits of managed printing services in the legal sphere.
Research has revealed that the average law firm spends up to 3 percent of its annual revenues on printing and document output, with around 30 percent of these costs going toward toner and maintenance fees. Despite this, most legal practices have little or no awareness of just how much their print output is costing them at their bottom line. This is due to uncoordinated purchases of equipment and consumables across departments combined with varying rates of expenditure between different devices and equipment.
The industry has been slow to embrace digitisation, in part, this is due to the documents needing to be presented in court as hard copies. With there still being a high level of dependency on paper, what can be done to optimise the way in which law firms print?
Filing a case for Managed Print Services
It is not usually possible to reduce the overall demand for printing in legal practices, especially in larger firms where multiple employees from different departments are printing documents, however, organisations are able to benefit from improved document workflow efficiency to ensure printing is considerably more economical and environmentally friendly through adopting a managed print service (MPS).
MPS contracts are available in a wide variety of options, but most providers will initially undertake a print audit in order to establish usage and the current level of expenditure. From here, the MPS provider will work to find the solutions that work best for the office’s needs and budget so that recommended changes can be implemented including:
- Replacement or elimination of outdated or inefficient machines and devices
- Automatic replenishment of toner supplies
- Introduction of print protocols to help minimize wastage
- Digitisation of documents (where possible) to facilitate straightforward and secure storage and sharing
- Automation of office workflows
How managed print services can help legal organisations
Security is, of course, paramount in law firms where any single document may contain an abundance of sensitive information; including financial details, insurance data, medical information, court evidence, and criminal checks.
This level of sensitive information leaves organisations vulnerable to data breaches and at risk of breaking data privacy legislation, particularly if the information winds up in the wrong pair of hands. MPS works to alleviate some of the security risk by holding print jobs in a queue until the user either enters a pin number or uses a swipe card rather than sending them straight to the out tray until the rightful owner of the file authenticates themself at the printer in order to retrieve it. If the authorised document owner does not release the print, it will remain saved in the queue.
For a busy practice, the majority of legal printing fees can be passed back to clients, it can be difficult to calculate and monitor the exact quantity of printing passing through all departments and exactly how much it is costing the company and clients.
MPS providers can turn the data from a print audit into an opportunity to reduce or even remove unnecessary expenses in an organisation’s print infrastructure, stemming from the use of outdated machines, excessive ink, toner, and paper consumption, as well as down time and costs associated with maintenance and repairs.
Adopting this approach to managing print devices can lead to significant cost savings and improved efficiency of workloads.
With time sensitive cases and deadlines to meet, in the unfortunate event that a printing or copying device fails, the clock is ticking to get it up and running again otherwise workflows and productivity levels will become significantly compromised. Legal professionals should be investing their time and resource into casework, and practice managers should be ensuring that the business is running efficiently. Certainly, neither should be tied up troubleshooting printer problems.
MPS offers a direct line to an expert who is able to manage your print supplies and requirements, not only to reduce overhead expenses, but also to ensure staff are working with maximum uptime.
A vote in favour for MPS in the legal industry
While MPS might not necessarily reduce print volume significantly, it is designed to optimise processes to help organisations to print smarter through assessment of current processes and implementation of necessary changes for boosting staff productivity, while reducing waste, and costs with minimal environmental impact.
I like that you pointed out that managed print will be able to reduce cost. As you mentioned, this will help track the quantity of the files you are printing to have an idea of how much you are spending. I hope law firms and other firms will consider this because it might help to lower down the rates as well towards their client. Like for my sister, she will be needing the help of a lawyer for her insurance claims, so she might need to spend less if they use this kind of services.
Thanks for explaining that using managed print services can help prevent downtime in cases. I’m currently looking for a lawyer to hire. Your article helped me see why finding a legal printing service would be smart as well.