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Organize Your Paperless Law Office with Firm Central

By Joseph Shields

What's the difference between an organized paperless law office and a disorganized paperless mess?

Firm Central law practice management software.

You see, scanning and uploading documents, contacts, and communication is just the beginning of a paperless law office. To be useful, these digital files must be organized and searchable. Otherwise, you're going to waste far too much time looking for information and very likely revert to paper files.

The easiest and most inexpensive way to organize your paperless files, and maximize the efficiency that comes with them, is to use Firm Central law practice management software. Below are seven ways Firm Central keeps everything from documents to calendars to contacts organized so you can manage an efficient paperless law office.

  1. Effortlessly Organize Paperless Files

    Nothing is more annoying and inefficient than disorganized files – whether they're paper or electronic. Firm Central makes organizing electronic files intuitive and easy with matter management file-building functionality that enables you to create a master matter folder and any number of subfolders within it to organize your documents.

    Pro Tip:Within Firm Central's “Documents” tab is a Firm Library. Use this to store document templates that you want everyone to use in your firm. Within the Firm Library create a “Templates” file and then drag and drop the template documents into the folder.

  2. Easily Upload Electronic Documents

    Firm Central provides three easy options to upload and organize documents you've either scanned or already saved on your computer.  

    Attach and Save: Upload a document into the appropriate Firm Central folder by selecting the document you want to upload, similar to the process you follow to attach a document to an email.

    Drag and Drop: If your platform is Google Chrome for Windows, simply drag files from your network and drop them into your Firm Central matter file.

    Save Within Your Computer Network: If you use Windows, you can move or copy documents from your desktop folders directly into Firm Central. Just download the free Firm Central desktop plugin.  When you update or save documents from your Firm Central folder on your desktop, you'll see them updated within the Firm Central dashboard, too.

  3. Quickly Locate Paperless Documents and Files

    With paper files, misplacing a document often means wasting hours fishing through files to retrieve it – if you're able to find it at all.

    Finding misplaced paperless documents or files within a network without the search capabilities of Firm Central can be just as painful, if not more so, considering the amount of clicking and opening of documents a manual digital search entails.

    That hassle is removed with Firm Central.

    To find a misfiled document, all you need to do is type in a word related to it into the global search bar. Firm Central will search the full text and metadata such as file names. This includes Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, PDF rich text format, Microsoft Outlook and web files. The global search will search only the metadata of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and graphics files.

  4. Easily Capture Paperless Notes

    It's easy to grab a pen and paper to make a note. The real challenge is keeping track of them and deciphering those scrawls at the end of the day.

    Firm Central optimizes paperless note-taking with easy-to-use tools to keep your notes readable, organized and as detailed as you want them to be. Notes are connected to your matters and documents, and time-stamped so they never get lost, and you never let any of the inspiration and ideas that win cases and opportunities slip by.

    Capture notes three ways:

    Within a matter:

    On a document:

    Within the document text:

  5. Quickly Enter and Manage Paperless Tasks

    It's too easy to overlook or misplace an email, post-it note or memo. Especially when you set it on a busy colleague's cluttered desk or send it to an overflowing inbox.

    Instead, assign projects and tasks or keep track of your own tasks with confidence through Firm Central. Once entered, everyone on your matter team will see their own tasks and everything everyone needs to do to keep the matter moving forward. At a glance, you can easily see what needs to be accomplished, as well as its status.

    You can also easily manage the status of all tasks by viewing what is open, what is due or overdue, or track status by due date, matter or assignee.

    Not only will this help you stay more organized but it also enhances collaboration and performance when everyone on the matter team knows precisely what has been done, what hasn't been done, what needs to be done first and who needs to complete it.

    Furthermore, if you see something on someone else's task list that you could handle easily, just reassign it to yourself and mark it complete.

  6. Easily Manage Contacts

    Stop shuffling through piles of business cards or scrolling through emails to find your contacts. Store all of the information from your contacts in Firm Central to locate it instantly and update matter information.  

    You can easily connect contacts to every matter they're involved with. For instance, if you're working with the same judge, client or opposing attorney for multiple cases, you'll only have to enter the information once and will be able to easily select their information to associate them with other matters they are involved in. 

    Having all of your contacts stored electronically in Firm Central also allows you to conduct a thorough and fast conflict check. By searching on last name or business name you can quickly identify conflicts from information in your matter folders, client or contact lists or within any document that has been saved to Firm Central.

  7. Instantly Capture Electronic Time Records

    How many hours do you think you’re not getting compensated for because you’re tracking time with scraps of paper or on the back of files? How much time is lost due to under estimating your time?

    With Firm Central time and billing has never been easier. You can instantly record and capture your time as you work. You'll no longer have to transfer your paper time record notes into an electronic form – just capture them electronically as you work.

    Use a built-in timer. Easily record time contemporaneously by starting a timer and saving the time record every time you start a new activity. This time is saved to the appropriate matter.

    If you don't want to deal with stopping and starting a timer, you can enter time directly into the matter.

    You can enter expenses directly into the Firm Central matter, too. Type in a description or use an expense code that you create yourself or comes prepackaged with Firm Central. These include options such as courier, copy, and filing fees.

    At the end of the month, Firm Central can automatically compile this time and expense information into professional invoices that you can send to clients electronically through the secure client portal.

Remember, this is just a high-level overview of how Firm Central law practice management helps you run the most efficient and effective paperless law office. Find out more by taking advantage of a 100% free two-week trial that requires no credit cards or billing information.

Joe Shields

About the author
Joe attended Northern Michigan University for undergraduate and Saint ouis University School of Law for law school, graduating cum laude in 2013. After practicing at a small St. Louis, MO based firm for two years, he joined Thomson Reuters in 2015 as an account manager. He is now a Product Specialist for practice management products, supporting Firm Central, Time & Billing, Deadline Assistant, Form Builder and Custom Forms.

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