How the “Electronic Lawyer” Manages Paperwork

Attorney Alan Pearlman – also known as the “Electronic Lawyer” – has been using technology to manage his legal practice for a long time. When he started out almost 50 years ago, law offices used typewriters and court documents had to be typed with carbon copies on onionskin paper.

Alan Pearlman

But, when computer technology arrived, he became an early adopter, starting with the TRS-80 computer and dot-matrix printers, and became known as the “Electronic Lawyer” when he started writing a syndicated column reviewing the various technologies he used to manage his legal practice.

Later, in the early 2000s, the best available scanners were multi-function scanners that combined scanning, copying and printing. As Alan recalls, they were “old, big and clunky, and took up a lot of space”, could only feed a few pages at a time and were slow. In addition, poor image quality was an issue and moving scanned files to a computer was a tedious process.

Then he obtained a ScanSnap scanner and discovered, much to his delight, “they were much quicker, the footprint was much smaller, and they would handle 10 or 15 pages at a time.” They didn’t require a lot of post-scanning adjustments to ensure the image was centered properly and easily legible, which as a result, “made everything move a lot quicker with our office work.” Fast forward to today’s ScanSnap models and Alan now utilizes the Wi-Fi enabled iX1600 which has a 50-page automatic document feeder and scans up to 40 pages per minute making his workflow more efficient than ever.

Application Integration

One thing he loves about using ScanSnap is that he can seamlessly integrate it with the Smokeball software he uses to manage his legal practice. Say a client gets a speeding ticket. All Pearlman has to do is scan the ticket and, by pressing a single button on the ScanSnap user interface, he automatically uploads and stores it in the appropriate client case file folder on Smokeball. And, because Smokeball has its own cloud server, he can securely access any client files from any computer by simply logging onto Smokeball.

Another ScanSnap scanner Alan utilizes is the portable and battery-operated iX100, which he can take with him to client meetings, depositions, court hearings or other venues and digitize documents on the fly, as needed.

E-filing Convenience

An additional feature Alan loves about his ScanSnap scanner is how it makes electronic filing, which almost all jurisdictions now offer, seamless and convenient. By linking his scanner to e-filing software InfoTrack, which he can access from his Smokeball account, he greatly reduces the time and effort required to file court documents.

In the past, he would have had to get in his car, drive to a courthouse – which might be up to an hour from his office – file the paperwork, wait for copies to be printed and stamped, and then drive back. Now, all he has to do is scan the documents he wants to file in a particular case, select the jurisdiction and action (appearance, petition, response, etc.) from the InfoTrack menu, click a button, and voilà, the documents are filed, the filing fee is automatically charged to his credit card, and he receives court file-stamped documents copies via email within 24 hours.

Record Retention

Finally, as an attorney in Illinois, he has an obligation to retain case files for a minimum of seven years. By using ScanSnap scanners, he can archive everything in a client’s file without incurring the cost of physically storing files in a warehouse or other space.

Bottom Line

The bottom line for Alan is that ScanSnap scanners enable him to do a better, faster job as an attorney while saving his clients time and money.