Wasting paper – and time – in the legal world

We’ve got some new data come in from EMC Documentum (who are obviously very happy that Linklaters continue to use their systems) about the amount of time & effort law firms waste looking for information (when they presumably do not have a Documentum system at their disposal). Joking aside, these figures (which echo earlier research on the subject) do reinforce the view that most firms would run more efficiently – and their lawyers get home earlier on an evening – if they just had better filing systems. (And that’s without even getting into the whole ‘green’ debate.)

According to the research…

• The legal industry lives up to its stereotype of printing and photocopying more sheets of paper per day than office workers in other industries

• Those in the legal sector (37%) are more likely than those in all other industries questioned (21%) to spend over half an hour a day searching for paper copies of emails or other documents

• The legal industry (25%) is also more likely than those in any other industry interviewed (11%) to print in excess of 100 pages in an average a day at the office. This equates to an average of 107 pages printed in the legal industry and an average of 54 pages in all other industries monitored. Those in the legal industry are also more likely than others to print over fifty pages (51% vs. 24%)

• 63% of fee earners spend more than 30 minutes looking for emails or other electronic documents

• 1 in 15 spend an hour or more looking for paper documents

• 78% print at least 26 pages a day

• 53% photocopy at least 26 pages a day