This post was written by Katelyn Bossany, senior product marketer, Productivity Solutions, Thomson Reuters

During LegalTech New York last week, Thomson Reuters sponsored a roundtable discussion on navigating the transition to an efficient, paperless office. Rudy Moliere, the firm director of Records & Information at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, moderated the discussion with three panelists:

Much from the roundtable discussion centered on the ever-moving definition of “paperless” and the various levels of paperless that an office may embrace. While achieving a fully paperless office still remains elusive for most offices, many legal professionals are discovering a partially paperless or “paper-lite” structure to be more suitable. In some offices the master record is paperless while in others only specific tasks are. Determining the best approach to migrating to a paperless approach requires first examining and mapping out the current paper workflow.

All panel participants recognized the opportunity presented by an office relocation or remodel, which opens the door to paperless conversations. Simply reducing the space for paper and emphasizing the cost of moving the tons of paper the office has acquired over the years can help to trigger the need for a paperless initiative. However, risk management needs to be the central driving force. Without a focus on reducing risk, gaining buy-in throughout the organization can be challenging.

When developing a paperless strategy, panel participants were wary of announcing that they were going paperless to their office. Instead, they all agreed it was critical to get senior leadership to sponsor a paperless initiative and implement a phased approach to slowly wean colleagues off of paper-based habits and processes. One panelist encouraged the audience to try a “minimally invasive approach” with a very slow transition to paperless that takes a holistic view of each office and practice group’s entire workflow.

Whichever methodology of “going paperless” is chosen, the panelists advised implementing a program and tools that are easier to comply with than to defy. Without a simplified process, legal professionals will resist changes to their current routines. Including colleagues in development of the strategy can further assure a successful transformation to a paperless office