Farrer & Co improve collaboration and efficiency using NetDocuments and Kodak Alaris scanners
UK News

NetDocuments logoTo significantly improve organisational collaboration and efficiency, Kodak Alaris announces that independent law firm, Farrer & Co, has installed a cloud-based Software as a Service EDMS (electronic document management system) from NetDocuments along with high volume Kodak i3000 Series Scanners and Kodak Capture Pro Software.  

The Kodak Alaris solution was provided by partner, ITEC, and will mean the business becoming far more paper lite.

The new system – part of the firm’s eFile programme to promote digital working – is already delivering a raft of benefits. Farrer & Co has changed its ageing document management software and implemented the latest NetDocuments’ technology which is easier to use and allows both lawyers and clients access to their files from any location using any Internet connected device.  This greater flexibility and sharing of information means a radical change to how Farrer & Co’s lawyers work day to day with enhanced services delivered to clients. 

In addition, the new NetDocuments system means information security and disaster recovery processes have been improved with IT management overhead and costs reduced.

Founded in 1701, Farrer & Co has a rich 300- year plus history advising clients on legal matters with the business today split into four practice areas: private client, contentious, property, and commercial.  With turnover in excess of £54 million in 2015, Farrer & Co has offices in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and employs over 400 staff – 71 of whom are partners.

Neil Davison, Farrer & Co’s IT Director, says, “Law firms are document heavy and traditionally produce vast amounts of paper which has to be retained for a significant number of years, depending on the specific records management policy.  With the growth in email usage, our paper storage has been growing year on year which is cumbersome to manage.  The eFile project has been all about grappling with this and reducing paper clutter by changing business processes and introducing new IT solutions.”

High volume scanning gets paper into legal workflows quickly

Farrer & Co has used MFPs (multi-function printers) for a long time to scan documents but required equipment to complement this which could handle the much greater volumes expected as it scans inbound paperwork about legal matters to populate NetDocuments - bundles which can run into several hundred pages each.  The purchase of two Kodak i3450 Scanners does this perfectly as each are rated to process up to 20,000 documents per day - 90 pages per minute - and come with Perfect Page technology to guarantee image quality even when dealing with old and faded paper.  


Davison says, “Having something which is reliable, doesn’t jam, can cope with all paper formats and won’t damage valuable documents some of which are decades and even centuries old is crucial.  The quality of the Kodak Alaris equipment stood out to us straight away.”

The scanners are managed and operated by a third party managed service provider, Intelligent Office, as part of an outsourced facilities and office services contract. 

An initial pilot project was carried out in the HR department to review how high volume scanning would work.  All personnel paperwork was scanned over a 10 week period given the structure of each is similar to legal files. All HR files are now totally digitised.  The success of this meant that the roll out was broadened to all Farrer & Co’s legal teams.  

Punit Shah, ITEC’s category director for document capture, workflow and ECM says, “Today Intelligent Offices are given document bundles, staff scan them into NetDocuments, with Kodak Capture Pro Software reading QR codes attached to paperwork to make indexing automatic. The speed of delivery of the eFiles project would not have been possible without the use of Capture Pro. It was rapid to deploy, easy to integrate with NetDocuments and the feature-rich, standard functions in the software meant time consuming coding and scripting was avoided. We’re a Capture Pro gold partner which means our staff have the technical skills to ensure maximum use of the software.” 

The eFile programme has been a massive business and IT change initiative for Farrer & Co covering seven work streams:

  1. Business analysis - mapping and reviewing how existing paper-based process would work in a digital environment;
  2. EDMS update - selecting and implementing NetDocuments after reviewing seven competitive systems and shortlisting three;
  3. Desktop refresh - updating software and installing dual 22 inch monitors for each solicitor;
  4. Meeting room technology - purchasing new low profile PC's and large screens to allow EDMS access from all meeting rooms;
  5. Training - delivering initial training for over 400 staff, half of whom are solicitors covering process changes and how to work with scanned documents, as well as the NetDocuments system itself;
  6. Communication and enhanced support around roll out – Delivering regular communication to the business, before, during and after rollout. The team also engaged and trained 20 floor walkers on short term contracts to work with staff on each floor to help with queries about NetDocuments as the system went live;
  7. Scanner selection and implementation - working with ITEC to implement the best capture and scanning solution to meet the business’ needs. Since the Kodak i3450 scanners have been installed, scanning throughput volumes have increased 25%. 

Farrer & Co’s IT department only has a team of 17 so when it came to the eFiles work streams, staff were stretched. Davison explains, “ITEC is an incumbent supplier, so when we wanted to improve the scanning, I knew they were the right people to help. I don’t like projects dragging on and we had a deadline which meant we had to work with people who could deliver and do things when they said they could. That’s been our experience of ITEC and Kodak Alaris.”

The latest EDMS delivers

It has been one year since the start of the eFile initiative and NetDocuments was installed. The project has been a success.  In contrast to the old EDMS which presented documents as long lists, NetDocuments has an attractive GUI, is therefore very visual and allows information to be found within a few clicks. 

Furthermore, using a true SaaS cloud-based solution saves Farrer & Co money on IT infrastructure costs as well removing the necessity to manage a complex on-premise IT environment – freeing staff to focus on work considered more strategic.

Simon Pring, a partner and member of the management board at Farrer & Co says, “Such is the importance of a document management system, a project like this could have meant significant disruption if solicitors couldn’t access or send documents to clients. I’m just so pleased that the move to NetDocuments and the other IT related work streams went so well, and it was business as normal. ” 

The shift from paper to digital is also allowing Farrer & Co to look at the volume of paper held on floors, as well as reducing the external offsite storage used. 

Colin Labrum, Kodak Alaris’ capture software sales manager says, “A law firm is unlikely to get rid of paper totally.  Some transactions have to be completed on paper particularly when it comes to wills and property transactions.  However, the eFiles project has meant a large reduction in the volume of printed and retained paper. Farrer & Co has started the move towards a paper lite environment with all the inherent IT, information management, work and client service improvements.”

About NetDocuments

Founded in 1999, with more than 3,150+ enterprise customers worldwide, NetDocuments is the legal industry’s most trusted cloud-based content services and productivity platform. Complete with state-of-the-art built-in security, compliance and governance solutions, NetDocuments offers document management, email management and collaboration technology complete with disaster recovery, enterprise search, and matter centricity features. For more information about NetDocuments, please click here.


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