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Nobody wants stacks of coffee-stained binders cluttering up the office. Plus, it costs money, which means higher client bills. Then, this happens.
I see three realms of paperlessness. 1) Paperless communications: email instead of letters and faxes. That’s easy. 2) Paperless storage: PDFs instead of filing cabinets. That’s easy too. 3) Paperless search & retrieval: that’s not so easy.
For digital natives, it’s easy if you “never had an existing paper dependency to overcome.” But if you are new to leaving paper in the forest, where paper prefers to be, here is a quick primer on using the iPad to become more paperless.
The key to going paperless is using Portable Document Format (PDF) files. If everything you draft, email, or review is a .PDF, you can eliminate paper.
When I draft a document, I type it at my desktop and set “Adobe PDF” as the default printer and my Dropbox folder as the default file location. If you have a newer version of Microsoft Word, you can “Save As” a .PDF, which you can save to Dropbox.
When I scan a document, I save it to my Dropbox folder so that it is available on the iPad. The scanned files are .PDF files, which can be opened on the iPad in GoodReader and other applications. Obviously, you need a good scanner. Most attorneys seem to prefer Fujitsu ScanSnap. Ask North Carolina attorney Lee Rosen, who admits he daydreams about his Fujitsu.
When I receive a document, again I save it to my Dropbox folder, which is organized by case matter. Emails that are received on the iPad allow you to open the document directly to Dropbox (Free). Click on the attachment:
You need Dropbox (or another cloud server) to connect your computer to your iPad. Sure, you can email documents. But with Dropbox, it is easy to drag and drop documents, or save directly to your file folder, for later access on the iPad.
Dropbox is the platform of a paperless office. Note, you can store any digital file in Dropbox, including photos, movies, and audio files. Once you transfer documents into Dropbox, you can use GoodReader ($4.99) to view documents on your iPad.
Many attorneys now use GoodReader to build a mobile law library of statutes, cases and memoranda. To stay current on Virginia law, for example, I regularly save .PDF cases to Dropbox directly from the Supreme Court of Virginia to be added to GoodReader. You probably have something similar in your state.
For questions, comments, or help using the Apple iPad at work, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming EventsRoanoke Valley Paralegals Association
May 9, 2013
Topic: "iPad Presentation at Trial: Presenting Your Case with TrialPad, Keynote, and Exhibit View"