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‘The Financial and Environmental Impact of Digitising Paper Documents in the Legal Industry’
The report is called ‘The Financial and Environmental Impact of Digitising Paper Documents in the Legal Industry’, conducted by the University of Liverpool and E-Sign (UK) Ltd. The Law Firm that participated in the study is a UK 100 law firm (referred to as ‘The Law Firm’).
Over a 12 month period after digitising the sending and receiving of new ‘matters’ to new and current clients, The Law Firm has made the following savings:
Digitise document processes
The Law Firm digitised their document processes with a focus on the digital sending of “matters” to new and current clients, including the Terms of Business and the Letter of Engagement. To achieve this they used E-Sign (UK) Ltd.
Document Transaction Process
A major issue in the legal sector is the administrative time, cost and effort to produce paper-based documents, and the delay in clients returning the signed document.
Traditional Paper Document Process
When organisations digitise the document process from inception, it can result in a 30-50% increase in process productivity and a 3 to 10 fold reduction in turnaround time.
The current document process now follows the below flow chart, where the turnaround time is between 1 and 3 days.
These paper savings were made by:
By sending documents electronically a saving of £11,740 was made in paper procurement. As a result of the reduced usage of paper there were significant CO₂e savings:
Reduced the requirement to print documents
By digitising their document process and using electronic signatures, The Law firm significantly reduced the requirement to print documents to be sent to clients for signature.
As a direct result of eliminating the printing of 1.4 million pages, The Law Firm saved an estimated £105,000 on printing costs.
Reduced costs and improved workflow
Savings based on the cost to send one “matter” at £2.60 (£1.60 for the actual letter and £1 for a stamped addressed envelope).
The Law Firm produces 18,000 new matters a year
N.B. These figures don’t include stationary costs or the cost of resending letters due to
delays, errors, or lack of client engagement.
The reduction in CO₂e as a result was 471 kg over the year
Increase storage space
Savings are based on each archive box storing 2000 sheets of paper, and being stored
for the minimum of seven years as per regulatory requirements, at a cost of £149 per box per annum.
With a total saving over seven years of £730,100
Significantly reduce the time spent on document administration
The Law Firm through the use of electronic signatures was able to significantly reduce the time spent on document administration, saving approximately 50% of the time previously spent on the various tasks outlined in the traditional document process above.
The average salary for administrative staff is £17,000 per annum (www.payscales.com), therefore savings of £8,500 per administrator with a total saving of £17,000 for The Law Firm.
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