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Partial Paperless

Partial Paperless

‘Partial Paperless’ enables you to reap the benefits of paperless without abandoning paper. You don’t have to go the whole hog. Here’s how.


Paperless is not an ‘all or nothing’ proposition. Some sole practitioners and small businesses are 100% committed to going paperless, but others are not. Within an organisation there may be individuals who do not want to go paperless. Maybe that’s you.

Like a lot of people, you like paper. You like reading it, writing on it, and feeling it in your hands. You like being able to physically transport it, file it, and shred it. How could you possibly benefit from paperless? Could you benefit in any way?

The short answer is yes, you can benefit in a lot of different ways. That’s ‘Partial Paperless’.

An Example

I’m going to take the example of an Irish solicitor in his late 60s or early 70s. This solicitor keeps paper files and has little or no interest in paperless. He is perfectly happy to continue doing things as he has always done them. His secretary manages his e-mails and prints out everything that arrives by e-mail, adding it to the relevant file. If a barrister needs a brief his secretary photocopies the necessary documents from the file, builds the brief and binds it, and sends it to the barrister by post or courier.

Without any interest in paperless, and with a strong desire to continue working with paper files, how can this solicitor benefit from paperless?

‘Partial Paperless’

If the solicitor were to take a ‘Partial Paperless’ (digital first, paper second) approach, he would immediately save money on administration, printing, and post/courier outlay. He would still have his paper files to read, annotate and file. His secretary, however, would no longer have to do any photocopying, brief building, brief binding, or sending by post/courier.

The setup for ‘Partial Paperless’ looks like this:

  • Paper files are maintained as before. However, new documents arriving by e-mail are printed and added to the file as before;
  • Parallel digital files are also maintained, containing:
    • Drafts, correspondence, reports etc. that arrive by e-mail;
    • Outgoing correspondence (almost always created on a computer);
  • When a brief is required the secretary heads for the scanner (see these scanning tips) instead of heading for the photocopier. Any documents on the paper file that are not on the digital file are scanned in and added to the digital file. Then, with a few clicks (see our course on PDF Manipulation) the secretary can then build an indexed and paginated brief. One more click to make a full copy. One more click to instantly transmit the documents to as many recipients as necessary.

Saving Time & Money

Already the office has greatly reduced its overheads for paper, ink, and post/couriers. It has reduced the time taken by support staff to administer the file (building, binding, packaging, and transmitting).

Changing to a ‘Partial Paperless’ setup is not rocket science but, at the same time, you’d be a fool to think you can just google it and get started.

Here at Paperless Academy we provide everything you need to make the change – the tuition, the software, the strategy, and the support.

Contact us to discuss your specific requirements, or else just go ahead and get your secretary signed up for courses like PDF Manipulation and File Management Systems.

You’ll be saving time and money. What’s not to like?

Not sure where to start?

How about a free e-book?

The Lawyer’s Guide to Going Paperless

A comprehensive, easy-to-read overview to help you decide if going paperless is right for you.

(Hint: If you like the idea of having more free time, fewer expenses and a clutter-free office, then it probably is.)

Lawyer's Guide to Going Paperless