Although it isn’t as often as it was in the past, there are still times when we must do something with scanning paper documents. Most attorneys have no clue what is involved in getting paper converted into electronic images. There are a lot of factors involved in this process. You can’t always just load up the scan and press scan.
Here are some things to consider before you decide to tackle a document scanning project:
- Do you have the time to commit to scanning? This isn’t a project you can simply add to your multi-tasking. You have to be alert and focus on the project.
- Do you have the right equipment? You may have to use a flatbed scanner for some documents.
- How much do you need to scan? Trust me on this point…do NOT let an attorney give you an estimate on how much. Look at the project with your own eyes first.
- What are the condition of the documents? Will you have to remove staples? Are the documents bound? Are they various sizes?
- Scanner settings. It’s not always once-size-fits-all for the scanner. There may be some documents where you will have to adjust the brightness and color. You can’t just rely on having it all set to automatic.
- When is the deadline? Set reasonable goals. Don’t try to impress anyone with short, unrealistic deadlines.
- Just scanning the paper is not the end. There is time needed for reviewing the images to make sure they were scanned correctly. You may or may not need to put your eye balls on every single image but plan in this time to your project.
- Bates numbering. Decide before you scan the first page how the documents will be numbered.
- Don’t advertise or brag about the project when you are finished. Sorry, but no one cares unless you want MORE scanning projects.
Deciding to scan documents in-house is a very time-consuming project. It is also VERY boring. Don’t make it where you have to sit and scan non-stop from the time you arrive until the time you leave work. Scan documents in chunks. Give yourself breaks. Scan for an hour or two in the morning and then another 1-2 hour session in the afternoon. This will keep you fresh.
If you delegate this duty to a student or intern, don’t just dump it on them and forget about it. Stay on top of the project and check the work.
It is rare to still have to scan paper but when you do, you need to develop a good plan to get it done. Hopefully these pointers will help you.