Contact Us

Prairie Law Group

Ridgway & Company

Barristers and Solicitors

205-3550 Taylor Street E

Saskatoon SK S7H 5H9 (Map)

Tel: 306.244.7775

Fax: 306.244.7776

Toll Free Fax: 888.491.7227

 

Office Hours:

Monday to Friday

8:30 am to 12:00 noon

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

After hours and weekends:

By appointment

A lawyer going paperless?  You're right, its probably impossible for any lawyer to go entirely paperless, however, we are trying to go as paperless as possible. If you look at our office, you'd probably think we are failing miserably at this.  However, the impact of our efforts is significant.  Files that once would have filled several boxes now are only a few inches thick.

All documents coming into our office are now scanned and stored on our computer information system. If we need copies of documents from you, we will often scan them and return them to you in the same visit. We even place a small "scanned" stamp on the document so that if you are looking through your documents, you will know which documents we already have.  We now have scanners on every desktop, and unless we really need a paper copy of a document, it will exist only as an electronic computer file.

Unfortunately, we still can't rid of paper entirely. Most court documents, agreements, real estate papers such as transfer authorizations, and mortgages still have to be paper based for signing. However, at least for the land titles system, many of these documents are scanned for processing and the electronic document becomes the original document in the land registry.  Many banks now do not require the documents with original signatures to be returned to them, and they are relying on the electronic documents for enforcement when the time comes.

The other area that our paperless system makes a huge impact is in the long term storage of files.  For most matters we have to keep our records for a minimum of seven years.  Having most of the file in electronic format drastically reduces the storage space that we require, as well as the amount of work required when we can finally destroy old files after 7 years.  It is much easier to destroy 50 pages instead of 1000 pages.

On the completion of a matter, we scan the entire remaining paper file to ensure that we have electronic copies of all of the documents.  If we still have any original documents, these are returned to the clients, and the file, with the few remaining paper documents, is stored for the required period of time, 7 or 10 years.

Since we also scan original documents that have been signed, such as Wills, Power of Attorney, and Agreements, in the event of a fire, the electronic documents have a much greater chance of survival due to backups and offsite storage of backups.

Now you may think that electronic documents are a security risk.  Lawyers do have a great deal of personal and very confidential information in our files.  By maintaining best practises for data security and passwords, and providing access to information only to individuals that need access, we have reduced the security risk to a negligible level.  Data is secured under multiple levels of security and our offsite backups are encrypted with high level dual key encryption software which makes them virtually impossible to decipher.  Even with all of this, we still have to keep constant vigil.

Getting rid of paper certainly has benefits, but to some degree the dream of going paperless exchanges one set of issues with another set of challenges, but we think the benefits far outweigh the challenges. And the environment probably thanks us for killing a few less trees each year.