The endless use of paper is a hallmark of most bustling law firms and one of New Zealand’s leading law firms, Kensington Swan, is no exception. The full-service, corporate law firm employs more than 180 people and has offices in both Auckland and Wellington. With a focus on providing corporate and commercial law, litigation and dispute resolution services, as well as legal expertise in financial services, infrastructure and government, the busy firm produces large amounts of paper documents. To help minimise the use of paper in the firm and streamline  process, Kensington Swan turned to Nuance’s Power PDF.

‘Due to the nature of our business, every matter or case we work on requires a paper file. Each file contains paper documents as well as paper copies of emails, other correspondence, records and so forth. As you can imagine, some of these files are enormous, the use of paper extensive and the time involved in printing documents and correspondence considerable. To reduce the amount of paper usage and make our internal processes more efficient, we were keen to explore digital solutions,’ explained Andy Hopkins, Kensington Swan’s Manager ICT.

According to Andy the firm roughly uses a staggering 5,000,000 sheets of A4 paper annually. It was also simply becoming impractical and costly to continuously store paper documents. “From a storage point of view, it is increasingly monetarily unviable for us to persevere with producing paper documents to such an extent. Moving towards the creation of electronic documents as the final record, with smaller paper files as the adjunct, is where we need to be.

“We researched the market with the aim of identifying software that lets us easily and quickly save our digital files into a portable document format (PDF),’ said Andy. The chosen PDF also had to offer the firm additional functionality. According to Andy, of prime importance was the need for the software to allow staff to write digital notes both on client PDFs as well as on those produced internally. The ability to highlight, circle information and use bubbles on PDFs was also a basic requirement.

“The PDF software also has to be able to produce small electronic files from Word documents which can be emailed quickly and do not fall foul of email systems’ document size restrictions. Our past experience has demonstrated that some PDF software solutions can only create large PDFs that then need to be broken down into smaller files to make them easy to handle. This of course, is not a very efficient use of one’s time, so we did not want to fall into this trap,” explained Andy.

While researching the various PDF solutions available in the marketplace, Andy came across Nuance’s Power PDF. Designed specifically for business use, Nuance Power PDF provides all the capabilities business users need at a competitive price point. The software lets users create, assemble, convert, edit, search, secure, print and validate PDF documents and forms with unprecedented ease and speed. Impressed with what he saw, Andy decided to trial Nuance Power PDF by asking one of the firm’s departments to use it.

“Power PDF was an instant success among the staff when we tested it. It is very easy to use because it is so highly intuitive. It’s also fast and rich in capability. Our staff are our most vocal critics so when we started receiving positive feedback, we knew that Power PDF was the right way to go,” said Andy.

The IT personnel at Kensington Swan proceeded to install the software department by department. They found Power PDF ‘smooth and seamless’ when it came to integrating the software with current systems. ‘Power PDF more or less installed itself and it integrated beautifully with WorkSite – Imanage. We had absolutely no teething problems,’ said Andy.

Apart from allowing staff to unlock and access client and internally produced PDF’s with ease, the software also allows them to highlight information as needed, and add notes and comments to PDFs. This means that staff at Kensington Swan no longer have to waste time printing documents, writing notes on them and then scanning them before emailing them back to clients. This entire process is now completed digitally. As Andy commented, ‘This function alone is a huge time saver for us because we can make comments directly onto the PDF. It also looks better, more professional, that you can type onto a document rather than having to write all over it.’

Nor do staff have to waste time breaking down large PDFs for the purpose of emailing. Power PDF has the capability to create small sized PDFs regardless of the size of the original document. ‘Many documents that we have created in the past using other PDF software have often ended up being 50MB. As you can imagine, sending numerous 50MB files a day is time consuming and takes up precious bandwidth. Plus, clients are not very appreciative of receiving files that are 50MB in size,’ explained Andy.

“Power PDF is helping us transform the way we work. Our processes are now far more digitally orientated and less labour intensive. As a result, not only are we more efficient and our processes more streamlined, we have also considerably decreased the amount of paper we use. What’s more, our people think Power PDF is wonderful, and from where I sit, it is so refreshing to see them using a piece of software because they actually enjoy using it. It is also pleasing to note that from a cost point of view, Nuance’s Power PDF is a no-brainer as it is so cost-effective. It will not take us long to recover the license costs,” concluded Andy.