Law firm. When I so much as hear those words, I picture busy trainees bustling around with stacks of lever-arch files; sky-high piles of documents striped with highlighter marks and separated by an iridescent array of tabs; papers flying through the air after an over-caffeinated lawyer’s eureka-moment. It’s a dynamic image full of people… people and paper.
But where do all those pages come from?
Massive firms don’t often think about the answer to that question, though each day lawyers rely on having thousands of pages printed, scanned, formatted, faxed and so on to do their jobs. Print rooms help make it possible.
Receiving little or no recognition, reprographics specialists make educated decisions every day that save their companies hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars, and endless stacks of paper. It’s little tweaks that even the most astute fee-earners won’t notice or recommendations that the people upstairs could not even conceive. These require both experience and innovation. Let’s think about it in action.
A great example of this is the trainee receiving a difficult job—let’s say a disclosure bundle—and either not knowing how it should be formatted or requesting it be done incorrectly. Disclosure bundles in particular have highly specific requirements that print room specialists find second nature, but a newbie may not even realise must be met. Good print rooms save effort, time, and the money of having to redo it by doing these, and other more complex jobs, correctly straightaway. The trainee isn’t embarrassed. The lawyer gets it on time and in the correct format. The firm continues to function without a hiccup and can carry on with business.
Now, imagine a print room specialist suggests page-capping or removing Excels, which often print in hundreds of incoherent pages. A lawyer may have had no idea that, say, a USB he or she was given contained several Excel documents and that those Excel documents could add up to thousands of useless pages. When a reprographics specialist catches this, asks, makes applicable changes, it benefits everyone. Print rooms save themselves time and effort. Lawyers have an easier time reviewing without excess. Firms cut massive costs as unnecessary pages quickly add up. These tweaks often go unthought-of.
Experienced specialists know all the basic specifications which helps them spot mistakes immediately. Then, they can inform the lawyer of his or her options, highlight issues, and seek clarification. By doing so, print room specialists can get a job running—and running correctly—as quickly as possible rather than doing it incorrectly and having to redo the entire job.
No one notices the thousands and thousands of pages that flow through a given firm without errors. That is really something. So let’s consider the implications of an error in order that we truly understand how important it is that there rarely are any. Mistakes could result in anything from simple embarrassment and adverse publicity to loss of business, fines, or even legal actions. Say a print room includes a document in a bundle where it does not belong. This not only risks the professional reputation of a firm but it also has the potential to expose clients. Or imagine how detrimental it would be if a crucial document was missing from a hearing bundle. And although the occasional mistake is inevitable, the thousands of pages that are printed, formatted, scanned, faxed and so on without any are a feat in themselves for any firm.
So if you’re a fee-earner reading this, go give your print room a pat on the back. They do more than you think. If you’re a reprographics specialist reading this, give yourself a pat on the back. You don’t get the credit you deserve. Our DocBuster team understands that and it’s why we’re trying to make your job just that much easier… and, hey, it’s why we wrote this article.