Many lawyers working remotely will be experiencing paperless working for the first time. Richard Borrett provides essential guidance.
As a key part of its response to the challenges presented by coronavirus, Kings Chambers has requested that all instructions are to be sent electronically wherever possible. Doing so reduces the need for as many staff to be present in chambers (to process paper instructions) and greatly facilitates home working.
For some, paperless working is a new feature of working in the time of Covid-19. Many of us here at Kings have been working semi- or wholly paperless for some time. For those trying to get to grips with paperless working, here are some tips which might make life a little easier.
- Download papers at home with decent wifi, not on the move
- Use a cloud system for storage
- Invest in backup – there are various subscription services which will automatically back up the folder you chose (e.g Code42)
If you work from a laptop all day, your eyes and back will not thank you. So in the medium-long term invest in a desktop setup – monitor, mouse, keyboard, and use the laptop when elsewhere. Consider 2 screens, or a very large single widescreen monitor
If you are in court, consider having two systems. Some of our members use a tablet for the bundle and a laptop/Macbook for notes – some do manage quite well with just one though.
Touchscreen tablets/computers with stylus/pens can help replicate physically ‘marking up’ bundles and making handwritten notes – particularly the Surface Pro Laptop (if you are a Windows user)
Software is very important. The aim is to replicate as much as possible a paper bundle – with tabs, sections, highlighting, etc.
If you are prepared to spend some money then consider investing in Adobe Acrobat Pro (£15 per month – https://acrobat.adobe.com/uk/en/). It isn’t cheap but it is really very good. You can combine files (of different formats i.e. Word and PDF and images), add tabs, add comments in a sidebar or over the page itself, and draw on the page.
Perhaps most impressively it will recognise all of the text in a scanned document (subject to the quality of the scanning) so that it can be copied/pasted, searched, and even edited. It will also turn a PDF into a Word document and vice versa.
There are various alternatives at lower cost, including Goodnotes, Notability, PDF converter professional by Nuance (to read PDFs to make them searchable), and PDF X-Change Editor Plus.
(Mac users – whilst Adobe Acrobat Pro is available on Mac, the others might not be)