News | February 1, 2011

Six Ways To Make Your Law Office More Productive Using PDF Technology

Nuance Demonstrates How to Get More Business Value from PDF at LegalTech

PDF technology provides law offices a very effective way to share and collaborate with documents because they are compact files that retain the original design elements when you print or display them, using PCs, mobile devices and eBook readers. However, when it comes to using PDF, most legal professionals are only scratching the surface of the productivity enhancing aspects of the technology.

"The PDF standard is a legally recognized format of choice for sharing and archiving case information, but PDFs are only the answer if used effectively," said Jeff Segarra, director, Imaging Product Management, Nuance. "Legal professionals need better tools to more accurately convert and use text trapped in PDFs as well as solutions to transform paper-based processes into faster, smarter electronic workflows. At LegalTech, Nuance will demonstrate solutions that quickly and conveniently produce secure, confidential documents that can be shared, distributed and commented on across diverse applications, business processes and platforms."

For example, PDF software can improve eDiscovery by making it simple to convert paper documents into a more readily searchable, usable, accessible format. Having a fast, easy to use PDF solution will reduce the cost and time of getting critical information into the eDiscovery process while simultaneously improving the quality of available information.

Here are six ways law offices and legal professionals can see more business value from PDF:

Make document scanning available to everyone. Decentralize scanning with multifunction peripherals (MFPs) and desktop scanners so anyone in the law office can scan documents into PDF format and electronically add those documents to legal applications such as case management. This step allows the person most familiar with the information to capture documents, which can proactively enable eDiscovery processes. In ILTA's 2010 Technology Survey, Nuance's eCopy ShareScan had the largest market share among software used to automate scanning processes in law firms.

Create searchable PDF files. Convert paper documents to PDF files and use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to create editable, searchable electronic documents. This unlocks information previously trapped on paper, making it easier to insert into other documents, such as pleadings, and find with searches. This capability provides benefits important to eDiscovery. Studies show that 18 minutes is the average search time for a document and a typical employee spends 30 to 40 percent of work time looking for information locked in e-mail, documents, shared hard disks and filing cabinets.

Improve document handling. Save time and money by unlocking information that's trapped within increasingly common PDF file format documents by utilizing document conversion software to convert those PDF documents into Word, Excel and other editable formats. This mitigates the risk of typing errors and the costs of retyping documents. The time savings are big. For instance, studies show that, on average, it takes 15 minutes to retype each page of a document while Nuance technologies can reduce this to a matter of seconds.

Pull together all your information. When working on a matter, legal professionals typically work with documents in multiple formats -- Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook emails. PDF Portfolios allow you to combine different file formats into an online case folder - making it easier to share information. This helps law offices address court mandates for electronic filing and improve collaboration with clients and other parties.

Go Green and annotate documents electronically. Exchange ideas and provide direction by adding notes, signature stamps, callouts and graphics to digital PDF documents instead of using paper. Many people don't know that you don't need an expensive software solution to edit PDF documents directly, change fonts and colors or fix errors in text or graphics. That way, your communications can be exactly the way you want them to be. Besides the environmental benefits of eliminating paper, there are real cost savings associated with a paperless process. According to studies, each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10,000 to 12,000 documents, takes up to 9 square feet of floor space, and costs $1,500 per year.

Protect your proprietary information. You can use PDF security features to lock-in your content and prevent others from changing, printing, or copying and pasting the information on documents, such as contracts. You can also redact documents when necessary to selectively hide sensitive information in documents before a public filing. Nuance provides the highest level of security when working with PDF documents.

About Nuance Communications, Inc.
Nuance is a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance's proven applications and professional services. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Nuance Communications, Inc.