Legal Printing: The Top Pitfalls to Avoid

Thursday February 21, 2019

Today, for many businesses, the print environment is the last un-audited department. As a result, most businesses are overspending on their printing. Often businesses utilize outdated, or even non-existent, tracking of print usage and supplies resulting in a major expense. While in a typical business this can impact the bottom line, in print heavy industries, like the legal industry, printing can be a significant drain on the budget.

For example, the average office employee prints about 10,000 pages a year. While that seems like a lot (and it is!), it's nothing compared to legal printing, where the average attorney can print up to 100,000 pages a year – not including pages that may have been printed offsite.

Huge print volumes can mean huge expenses and can cause budgets to skyrocket, especially if left unmanaged or improperly monitored. This is just a sample of how much law firms rely on print.


Common Challenges Facing Law Firms


The legal industry is built on copying and printing. Important documents like agreements, contracts, briefs, depositions, and minutes all need multiple copies to be printed and distributed. Depending on the device used, the cost-per-page can be five cents. While it might not seem like a lot, it adds up to approximately $5,000 per year, per attorney. Most firms have several associates and multiple partners.

With page volumes being so high, the legal industry struggles with low-visibility and controlling costs. Because of the number of devices and needs, part of the budgetary challenge can be attributed to dealing with multiple vendors for supplies, repairs, maintenance, and leasing costs.

Dealing with multiple vendors can be costly and difficult to coordinate. Printing is often the third highest expense for many firms, right behind payroll and rent. With such a large portion of the budget at stake, it's important to asses and evaluate where you can find savings.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to the legal industry, there are many industry-specific challenges that firms face today, including:

• Maximizing billable hours

• Predictable, consistent budgeting

• Disaster planning and recovery

• Faster access to key documents

• Regulatory compliance and accountability

Add to this list client security, space requirements for record storage, and service issues, you can see that there are many areas that, when managed, can significantly reduce your expenses, improve workflows, and increase productivity and billable hours.


Avoiding Pitfalls and Improving the Legal Printing Process


While there are some simple steps, legal firms can take to help get their print environment under control, taking a Managed Print Services (MPS) approach is a comprehensive way to cut costs, improve workflows, refine processes, and increase billable hours.

Many firms may have one or more copy rooms which may not be easily accessible to all employees. Also, waiting to access printing when someone is printing large volumes costs time, slows workflows, and costs money.

A Managed Print Services relationship begins by assessing the current state of your print environment. This includes an inventory of physical devices and vendors to understand your firm's assets better. Once an inventory is established, an MPS provider will next take a look at actual current print volumes. This can help to set a baseline cost-per-page.

Once this data is gathered, changes can be implemented which may include the replacement of inefficient devices with multifunction machines that can fax, scan, copy, and print to streamline workflows in the legal environment.


Solutions to Common Legal Industry Print-Related Problems


Working with an MPS provider can help you to improve your firm's bottom line, boost productivity, and reduce legal print-related issues and distractions, freeing your team’s time to focus on billable hours. Benefits like simplifying and automating ordering of supplies can reduce downtime. Consolidating your print-related expenses to a single vendor and a single monthly invoice will help you to better track usage and control printing costs to provide a more accurate way to invoice client chargebacks and improve internal accounting.

Here are some additional solutions Managed Print Services can provide:

• Increased Productivity – By digitizing and automating manual tasks, your team will spend less time at the printer and more time on core business tasks. Documents can be scanned directly to your network, or court and be automatically converted to any format.

• Enhanced Security – Every document that is printed is recorded to the hard drive, putting it at risk of breach. An MPS partner can implement enhanced security to protect sensitive information.

• Streamlined Workflows – By reducing steps required for processing paper documents and legal briefs, digital capabilities and mobile print, peak efficiency can be realized.

• Cost Reductions – Consolidating equipment, adding multifunction devices, ergonomic placement, reducing supplies, and repair costs can provide significant cost savings. IT services can be freed up to concentrate on vital issues rather than dealing with print issues as preventative maintenance and service are dealt with by an MPS provider. Paper and consumables can be reduced through print protocols like double-sided printing and user-based rules.

The bottom line: the legal industry is one that can greatly benefit from the expertise a Managed Print Service provider offers. Enhanced security, improved processes and workflows, and significant cost savings are just some of the many benefits that MPS can provide. Implementing a Managed Print Services solution can take your mind off of printing so you can better focus on growing your legal practice.