So, you start eFiling. You put a lot of effort into formatting your documents correctly, take the time to learn how to use an eFiling system, and complete your first transaction. Then you take all the documents you just filed, print them out individually, and lug them across the office into cramped filing cabinets in the back. Maybe you even print out another set to serve the eight other parties involved in the case. Does anything about this seem a bit odd?
This is a workflow all too common at any type of business, not just law firms. They put effort into learning a digital process just to keep the rest physical. At best, the result is one slightly faster, less wasteful practice. At worst, you complicate every other process by disconnecting one from the rest of your workflow.
To get the most out of eFiling, you need to consider the tasks you do alongside filing. Here, we will discuss a few practices that can save you even more time than just eFiling on its own.
Use Digital Cloud Storage When Possible
Physical document storage is labor, time, resource, and space intensive. Digital storage, in contrast, generally isn’t. It has its challenges, but it removes some very annoying tasks from your day (fixing the printer, dragging papers back and forth in the office, hiring a shredding company for when you need to find more room in the office, and the list goes on). Better yet, digital cloud storage enables more flexibility for remote work, as you can access the documents you need as long as you have Wi-Fi.
The good news is that eFiling providers may build that document storage into the service. There are mandatory storage requirements in most jurisdictions to uphold. File & ServeXpress products automatically store any document sent through the system perpetually, so our users can access their documents even when the mandatory retention period is over.
Simplifying Document Management
Digital storage often makes finding documents easier than the physical counterpart. Instead of tabbing through a filing cabinet (or combing through a box found under ten other boxes), you can perform a simple search for what you need. Some eFiling services can also provide more advanced searching tools, which can search through documents based on title, case ID, Attorney, and more.
If you already use a document management system for digital storage, many eFiling systems offer integration. For example, File & ServeXpress offers a tool called Case Conformer, which feeds documents filed and served on our platform directly to your DMS, keeping your documents consistent across platforms without manual updates (you can talk to an FSX rep to learn more).
Ensuring Document Safety
Additionally, it’s important to acknowledge the added security benefits of digital cloud storage. Documents stored in a permanent document repository are not vulnerable to the same threats as a room full of filing cabinets. Digital copies cannot be lost, damaged, or destroyed by natural disaster, cyber-attacks, human error, or disgruntled employees.
Even if you do continue to store physical copies, the eFiling system can act as an additional backup. In the case of a natural disaster or local system failure, an eFiling system with perpetual storage can help you access the documents destroyed quickly.
Use Simultaneous Service Along With eFiling
Many eFiling providers offer simultaneous eService on every transaction. This is an alternative to standard physical service and other electronic methods like email.
If you traditionally serve using the mail, simultaneous eService will save you a lot of time and costs associated with printing/mail delivery. Once you have a contact list created in your eFiling system, service can be as easy as checking off a few boxes.
If you tend to serve using email, you have already cut paper out of the process. But creating the email takes longer and leaves you vulnerable to mistakes (like missing a contact or not attaching a document). Of course, it also lacks some of the features available with a dedicated eFiling provider, like read receipts and actual support staff (with FSX, 24/7 support). The bottom line is that even if no one will give you weird looks for serving documents through email, it’s generally a worse service method than an eFiling system.
If standard eService is not an option for your case, or if you’d just like a copy of your service in your inbox, you can simultaneously file and email serve using File & ServeXpress. Our platforms include an option to send a link to the documents through an email message, where any user added to your contact list can access the documents. This method still saves our users time while filing and keeps the documents searchable and stored on our system.
What if We Don’t Even eFile Yet?
If you don’t eFile yet, it’s okay, getting started doesn’t take much time. With File & ServeXpress, you can create an account and attend one of our training webinars for free. Select your state of operation below, and you can learn more about the File & ServeXpress eFiling options available for you in the link below.