More than almost any other business, lawyers print stuff. A law firm needs to print contracts, expert testimony, depositions, courtroom exhibits, legal filings, trusts, wills and more. And a lot of that material needs to be printed and delivered to clients or even presented in a court of law with no time to spare.
Printing is a major cost center for any law firm. According to a survey by ALL Associates Group, legal organizations spend 13.7% of their annual revenues on internal and external document production. That is more than twice the average of 6.1% for all other industries. That translates into new capital expenses if law firms choose to buy the latest printers. In fact, the 2017 ABA Legal Technology Survey found that, unlike many businesses, attorneys spend more per year on hardware (computers, tablets, printers, etc.) than software.
Unfortunately, many firms have no idea how much their actual total printing costs are. That is especially disastrous for a law practice where printing costs need to be accurately tracked and billed back to clients. How glaring could this oversight be? According to industry research, more than 85% of printed output is client-related and should be billed back to the client. Managed Print services are an ideal way to manage, track and rein in printing costs within any law office, from the Am Law 100 to a solo practice.
With different departments responsible for multiple types of copiers, printers and fax machines, law firms often struggle with redundant devices and duplicated costs. A Managed Print solution can help defray those costs and, more importantly, it can help you focus on what’s most important — serving your clients and practicing law. Here are the top three ways Managed Print can save a law firm time and money:
Lock it Down: Security
Not everything printed within an organization is for public consumption, and that is especially true for a law firm, which handles its clientele’s most closely held secrets. The FBI’s cyber division warned law firms about hackers who specifically target international law firms, and these criminals will use any means necessary to steal inside information from your biggest clients. While that’s concerning, studies found that 70% of breaches actually come from insiders walking off with confidential info.
Managed Print services adds a level of authentication and control so that documents are not left sitting on a printer where anyone — an insider or outsider — could make off with them. Authentication can also be added to scanners to secure and prevent proprietary information from being taken off the premises without authorization. This technology includes audit trails, administrative alerts and reports so you can confidently limit the scanning of sensitive documents.
Know What You Own: Analytics
Every organization struggles with underused printers that sit around while others handle high volumes of requests and require ink or toner too frequently. Old printers sputter on despite climbing maintenance costs, while expensive color printers are used to make black-and-white copies at a higher cost per page. On top of that, your IT department is wasting its precious time and resources keeping a fleet of outdated printers up and running while they could be working on mission critical tasks.
For a law firm, cost recovery doesn’t just help minimize printing, scanning, copying and faxing costs — centralized billing codes and billing functions make it possible to accurately bill back costs to clients in a timely manner. Managed Print software can automatically schedule reports so you can manage costs and workflow based on real-time, customizable data. In other words, you control your costs AND clients can see what work you’ve done on their behalf, so you get paid more quickly.
Make the Regulators Happy: Auditing and Control
One point of confusion we see over and over is that printers straddle two worlds: IT and facilities. IT might assume the printers are owned by facilities, while facilities assume they’re managed by IT since they reside on the network. This is problematic in the legal world, especially for regulated practices where compliance rules and reporting are required. This includes health care, financial and other practices where HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and other federal mandates hold sway.
A Managed Print solution automatically gathers compliance-related data on all document output activity and generates reports for you, your clients and even regulators. In the legal world, Managed Print solutions are not just beneficial for cost recovery but ensure everyone is on the same page and is working with the most current and accurate information.
Managed Print is ideal for controlling costs and, in a law firm environment, it can help ensure that your machines are helping you better serve your clients. To see how such a print partnership can benefit your company, download the Beginner’s Guide to Managed Print Services below. Then, reach out to the experts at the Gordon Flesch Company for a free, no obligation assessment of your company’s printers.