Transforming records into digital documents for legal e-filing

Submitting documents to court in a timely fashion and in accordance with laws, regulations, and local directives is a crucial service for law firms everywhere. Over the past decade, many counties across the United States have launched the requirement of using electronic filing (e-filing) for most court submittals. E-filing offers many benefits — easier searching, better accessibility, reduced space requirements for records, and so on – but it also requires thoughtful preparation and some investment in technology by law firms, no matter their size.

The rules for the presentation of e-filings are not necessarily the same as for physical filings. For instance, you have to consider that filings may be read on a small screen, such as tablet or phone, and documents and photos must be as legible digitally as they are in original print format. For items that are not created digitally or forms that must reflect a “wet signature,” scanning documents is an obvious solution.

Choosing the best scanner for your firm

Efforts to digitize the filing process are an attempt to minimize loss of information, streamline communications and maintain security. What’s the best approach for your firm’s situation, in a market crowded with options?

Some aspects to consider:

  • Is it complicated to use? The best document scanning solution should make it easy for people unfamiliar with scanners to implement and begin scanning without spending much time learning the system.
  • Is it compatible? You’ll want to ensure that the scanner you choose can easily work with the filing platform of the courts you work with most and also your company’s file management system, such as PCLaw, LexWorkplace or ProLaw.
  • What resolution does it support? Most courts require 300 dpi (dots or pixels per inch) at a minimum, which meets the National Archives Standards.
  • Does it deliver clear, legible documents, including images? Obscured or fuzzy captures of documents and photos can delay processes or might not be accepted by the courts. So, look for a document scanning solution that includes image cleanup software.
  • Can it compress files? Courts have various file size limits. Compression can reduce the size – and documents will take up less space in your storage system as well. You’ll want a device that includes document capture software that can convert color to black and white, minimize the file size, and convert to searchable PDFs.
  • How big is the machine? Does it take up a lot of room on a desk or require its own workstation? Can you take it on the road?
  • Can it accommodate odd-sized paper? You need a machine that can handle items of various sizes and thicknesses, such as photo prints, legal size and double-sided documents as well as driver licenses and other forms of identification.

Effective data capture for legal e-filing

Determining which scanner works for your situation depends on the volume of e-filing you project, how you work most (in the office versus mobile), and whether or not you will be using the same machine for other scanning needs.

Built for sharing. The ScanSnap iX1600, the newest flagship ScanSnap is 33% faster* giving you more time back in your day.  This is a desktop scanner that features a touch screen and allows you to create up to 30 profiles so your colleagues can use the scanner according to their preferences. This model also makes it easy to scan small documents, such as receipts or photo prints, through a specialized feed. Dust Detection and Streak Reduction reminds you to clean the device when needed, to avoid blemishes on documents. In addition, you can scan wirelessly to Windows, Mac, iOS or Android mobile devices.

Designed to travel. Take your scanner on the go when you choose the ScanSnap iX100. This model features a dramatically compact battery with USB charging option. Whether scanning receipts, forms, pictures, or plastic cards, the iX100 takes scanning beyond the desktop and on the road. Completely wireless and weighing only 400 grams, the iX100 brings mobility and wireless scanning to your Windows or Mac computer as well as iOS or Android device. Or, choose the ScanSnap S1300i, which is the smallest scanner in its class. Use it when you're at court capturing signatures, at a client’s office recording a deposition, and at the office creating e-filing documents. This scanner can be your constant collaborator.

Intended for the paperless office. Many scanners in the fi Series scanners are perfect for larger offices that are going beyond e-filing and prefer to digitize as much as possible. For example, the fi-7600 features a user-friendly design and is suitable for continuous high-volume scanning. By using either the ADF feeder or flatbed, this model can scan documents of various sizes, shape, and form, including thin paper, plastic ID cards, envelopes and long page documents. Or, choose the fi-7240 for reliable batch scanning and best quality data for OCR needs.  The fi-7180 serves large offices well, reducing rescans by cleaning up documents automatically in a single pass. It also meets Energy Star’s energy consumption requirements and the European Union’s Reduction of Hazardous Substances and Volatile Organic Compounds regulations.

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*Compared to the ScanSnap iX1500.