Nuance Legal Solutions Address Challenges that Arise as Paper and Electronic Workflows Collide
Nuance Communications has identified four key trends that will impact how law firms manage and share information in 2013. These trends may pose significant challenges to firms of all sizes that are not prepared or equipped to manage new demands in paper and electronic documents.
They also provide opportunities for law offices to enhance their efficiency and compliance capabilities while better serving their customers.
“New technologies, such as cloud and mobile solutions, present great opportunities in productivity gains for law offices. But with these technologies come challenges, including security risks from mobile professionals, potential confidentiality breaches because of lack of IT controls on cloud and mobile services, and spoliation as a result of mishandling electronically stored information,” said Michael Rich, senior vice president and general manager of the Nuance Document Imaging Division. “Nuance expects to see law firms increase investments in solutions that help them to adapt to the fast-changing IT environment in order to protect sensitive data, control document workflows, and better track and manage costs.”
Four Key Technology Trends for Legal Industry
To secure information and better serve clients, law firms need software that provides insight into how users are accessing paper and digital documents, where MFPs should be allocated for greater effectiveness, and how cost recovery can be enhanced. By addressing these issues, firms can help transform IT departments into an asset, limit outsourcing for document management and improve functionality of legal support staff.
Smartphones and tablets. The 2012 ILTA Technology Survey reported lawyers who purchase and use their own smartphones and tablets at work is now in practice at more than 40 percent of law firms. This trend illustrates how thousands of attorneys and their firms are adapting to the Consumerization of IT whereby consumer devices are used in the workplace and tap into employer networks. The challenge for law firms is maintaining security and confidentiality without adversely affecting employee productivity. To address this challenge, law firms are increasingly using software that integrates with employer-approved cloud storage services and secures printing from mobile devices to streamline access to documents anywhere, anytime, while also safeguarding security and confidentiality.
eDiscovery. A major trend in eDiscovery gaining importance in 2013 will be addressing the voluminous growth of digitized PDF documents within corporate file systems. The simplicity, accessibility and affordability of MFP scanning workflow solutions has led to a vast increase in digitized PDF documents, or documents scanned into PDF files, on corporate networks. To address this trend, litigation support organizations are turning to document conversion solutions that can tell the difference between “native” PDF files, or those originated as PDF files, and “digitized” PDF files, which are documents that have been scanned into PDF files or mixed native-digital PDF files. Only document conversion tools with intelligent OCR (optical character recognition) can decipher both types of content, meaning law firms or law departments don't risk data loss or spoliation.
eFiling. With many court systems mandating the filing of documents electronically and the PDF/A format becoming the accepted standard for eFiling, the ability for law firms and attorneys to ensure PDF/A compliance is an emerging trend. This eFiling requirement will drive adoption of PDF converter software which allows legal professionals to create PDFs in PDF/A compliant format. The software can automatically check documents for compliance and notify the user of potential issues.
Alternative Fee Arrangements. Economic pressures have driven many law firms to alter client fee structures. Alternative fee arrangements (AFA), commonly flat fees or project-based fees, will continue to gain popularity this year in lieu of charges by billable hour. This trend underscores the importance of cost recovery solutions to not only recover costs from clients on a traditional billable hour plan but also to help firms develop an AFA structure to ensure fees sufficiently cover actual document management expenses.
Nuance at LegalTech 2013
To help firms understand how technology can address these key trends, Nuance Document Imaging will showcase several legal technology solutions at Booth 1601 during LegalTech 2013. Malcolm Stevens, VP of Sales for Legal Solutions at Nuance, will be on hand to discuss best practices in how law firms can improve document workflows.
Nuance will demonstrate the latest version of eCopy ShareScan Suite, the world's best-selling document scanning and workflow solution for networked multifunction printers (MFPs). eCopy ShareScan software is easy to use and install, and allows organizations to maximize existing investments in network MFPs and scanners to turn paper documents into digital information securely. eCopy ShareScan was ranked as the leading document scanning and workflow software among law firms surveyed in the 2012 ILTA Technology Survey.
Other Nuance solutions at the booth include:
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