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  4. ScanSnap™ Case Study: attorney Rüdiger Götz

Rüdiger Götz

The Attorney's New Assistant

Industries:

  • Diversified Services

Offering Groups:

  • Scanners

Solution Areas:

  • Imaging Solutions

Regions:

  • Germany
  • Europe

Challenges:

  • Small staff, low budgets
  • Large volume of paperwork to file
  • Targets to reduce waste and
  • Increasing adoption of electronic document transmission in the German legal system

Benefits:

  • Fast searching for documents
  • Improved cooperation with associates
  • Bundled software saves additional outlay & integration
  • Quick return on investment

Lawyers can now cost effectively digitize their correspondence, with the ScanSnap from Fujitsu which offers an ideal solution aimed in particular at smaller law firms.

graphic

German attorney Rüdiger Götz has been fighting for his clients' rights at his small law firm near Munich for more than ten years. He along with four employees deal with an average of 700 cases simultaneously. To keep an upper hand over this enormous paper load and to quickly find the correct file at the right time in the right place, the 43-year old lawyer trusts in his newly acquired assistant — the powerful ScanSnap PDF document scanner produced by Fujitsu.

The ScanSnap is a compact duplex ADF scanner able to scan double-sided color documents at speeds of up to 15 pages per minute, depending on the resolution needed. It fits comfortably on any desktop, making it the optimum solution for day-to-day scanning at the personal workstation. As an extension of the automatic PDF file creation, users can now generate searchable PDF files."I was tired of constantly having to cart bagfuls of documents around with me", Götz explains.

In the course of his work as an attorney, he frequently needs to have important documents at his fingertips. "By scanning the documents beforehand, I can eliminate most of the extra baggage which I used to take along, and still have all the necessary paperwork in digital form on my notebook," he says enthusiastically.

A reliable memory
Götz's ScanSnap stands on top of a small sideboard next to his desk. "It goes with the furniture and has an attractive design," praises the lawyer. Thanks to its small A4-size platform, it doesn't need much space, and yet it's always on standby so that it can be used anytime. "Anyone can handle the device," he says. The principle is simple: "Just lift the cover, put in the paper, press the start-button, and that's it — you're ready to go!" Whether if multi-page documents, A4-size color brochures, business cards or typical business correspondence, everything is scanned in just one step, and can be even saved in its original layout on a PC's hard disk or on the network as a PDF file. Its automatic paper management deletes blank pages and realigns any documents, which may have been fed in incorrectly.

Sorting files with one mouse click
The scanned information is saved automatically in a central archive - including date and time as file name. When the whole scan is finished, Götz simply opens his Windows Explorer and moves the documents via Drag and Drop from the folder to the application. They consist of different subdirectories like "Letters to client", "Letters to adversarial lawyer" or "Letters to court". In these subdirectories the files are saved according to their date. "This commercial principle has proved its value in our office because you immediately know at what date anything has happened," says the lawyer. "Moreover we also sort our paper files per sample."

Office photoIn the office of Rüdiger Götz

The scanner can convert paper documents into searchable PDF files. That function enables Götz to search specifically for keywords. "To make this possible, Fujitsu and ABBYY Europe, the specialists in Optical-Character-Recognition-Software (OCR), have together developed the program 'ABBYY FineReader for Fujitsu ScanSnap", says Klaus Schulz. "The software solution is able to recognize letters, which have been saved as an image-file and converts them to ASCII-Code. At the push of a button it is possible to create automatically a Word document, an Excel sheet or a PowerPoint 2003 slide out of a paper draft."

Improves co-operation with associates
Thanks to the digitised nature of the documents they are now at the lawyer's disposal no matter where he is. Additionally errors in the daily work routine are minimized, too. Before, writs were lost forever in the worst case or accidently were put in the wrong folder. Today, they can be easily found via full text search in the virtual file archive. Recently, the copiers existence has been called into question. Before they had ScanSnap, Götz's staff had to retrieve specific documents from paper files, copy them several times, return them to the files or send them off via mail. "Today, all this can be done via mouse click," he points out.

When he has a writ he must read, the lawyer himself can reply and print all relevant documents immediately. That does not only reduce misunderstandings between the lawyer and its female assistants, but considerably loosens the burden the anteroom has from annoying routine tasks. "Now my assistants can be more attentive and more detailed to the many calls we get every day," the lawyer is pleased.

Götz already sees the mass of high cabinets of his law firm in a different and new light. "At the moment, our files look quite dented and have ugly dog-ears because we use them all the time. In the near future," he is convinced, " we can work every day saving paper." The lawyer is supported in this vision by the discussion about the introduction of the so called electronic signatures that will provide for an instant identification of the sender of an electronic message. Even if in Germany different providers are negotiating about a unitary standard - the economy is very interested in the secure electronic distribution of confidential information. To some extent it has already been realised: "The courts increasingly allow electronic papers to be sent," says Götz. Once the electronic signature has become commonplace, the digital transmission of files will be self-evident.

Götz quote

Rewarding investment
Regardless of what the future will look like, already today the judgement of the German lawyer Rudiger Götz is positive: "The appliance is easy and quick," commends the jurist. The acquisition costs of about 500 Euro will be quickly wiped out by the saving of work time and paper, he believes. Furthermore in the price is included an extensive software package, amongst others it includes the full version of Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Standard, that would cost a few hundred Euro by itself. The lawyer's final speech couldn't be more enthusiastic and anticipates the final judgement without doubt: "If ScanSnap can read all documents as quick and as easy and it supports me in my daily work so reliably then there is nothing left to desire. Therefore even large law firms with complex software solutions can apply ScanSnap locally in their work areas in order to integrate external documents immediately in their digital work flow."

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