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One question that continually bothers CIOs and partners is “How do I get important information trapped on postal mail and other physical documents into my digital workflows?” Most of the time, organizations manually scan their mail and documents in order to more effectively work with paper. This is why, in part, law firms self report to spending almost 50 percent of their time on administrative tasks, according to recent research on legal trends published by Clio.
Maximizing efficiency by eliminating administrative tasks should be a focus for any law firm because it lets them focus on growing their firms, attracting new clients, and doing what they were hired to do—practice law. The do-it-yourself approach to scanning, used by many law firms, requires installing hardware and training employees on how to use the technology. Additionally, a process for managing human error in the form of poor quality scans or lost documents has to be implemented. Instead of spending money on in-house resources, many law firms would benefit from outsourcing the handling of their important mail and paper.
Earth Class Mail offers law firms a fully digital mailroom service that is designed to eliminate manual work, reduce errors, improve productivity, save costs, and increase overall efficiency. By using a virtual address from Earth Class Mail’s vast network, the company is able to receive, scan, and digitize all of a law firm’s inbound postal mail. The United States Postal Service (USPS) dictates that Commercial Mail Receiving Agents (CMRAs), like Earth Class Mail, require their customers to complete a form authorizing the CMRA to receive and handle mail on their behalf. The form must also be notarized to verify the customer’s identity and ensure a responsible party is linked to the account.
Earth Class Mail began its business more than 15 years ago in the B2C market space and over time started serving small businesses in the B2B world. In recent years, the company has started working more with bigger businesses and even select enterprise organizations that receive large volumes of mail. The company found early traction in the accounting space by turning information on mail items into digital and actionable data. The data from those digital documents could then be integrated with accounting software. Today, the company has expanded into other verticals including legal, medical, insurance, and real estate. The company’s services have also broadened over the years to include check depositing. The ability to automatically deposit mailed checks is especially attractive to certain segments of their customer base. Property managers, for example, receive a high volume of checks for rent payments on a monthly basis. Lawyers also receive a fair amount of checks - in the form of client payments and settlement payments.
“We are strongly positioned in the B2B space, always looking to support businesses and the market at large, finding our sweet spot in the legal sector,” says Jess Garza, CEO of Earth Class Mail.
Earth Class Mail offers clients a network of more than 85 virtual addresses, which span 65 cities across the United States. Mail is routed from a customer’s virtual address to Earth Class Mail’s secure processing facility where mail items’ contents are scanned, digitized, and delivered to a custom portal, or user interface, that resembles an email inbox. “Customers like being able to manage their digital documents in an interface that’s very similar to what they’re used to with e-mail,” says Garza. Earth Class Mail’s automation rules allow users toautomatically upload digitized versions of their postal mail and other paper documents to third-party cloud storage providers like Google Drive and Dropbox. Notifications alert recipients when digital mail has been delivered so that they instantly know when new mail has arrived, a benefit to lawyers receiving time sensitive information that requires immediate attention. With digital mail, customers can respond or take action quickly and seamlessly by sharing mail items with others, depositing checks, and syncing with other apps. For lawyers in particular, digital mail offers the ability to seamlessly integrate with third-party apps and digital workflows, as well as sync with proprietary legal technology tools such as practice management software.
One of the most useful features of Earth Class Mail’s solution is complete text searchability. “We use optical character recognition (OCR) technology when creating high-resolution scans, which allows lawyers to instantly use search functionality for expedient discovery of documents,” says Garza. Clients can easily search for important information previously trapped on paper and act on it quickly. This is especially helpful for lawyers working to synthesize information during the discovery process. Given the sensitive nature of legal documents, security is a top priority for the company. Earth Class Mail’s facility for receiving, scanning, and storing mail is monitored 24/7 and is only accessible by authorized employees. The company strictly follows and complies with HIPAA standards and protocols to ensure that sensitive information contained in private medical and legal records is properly handled. The company’s network uses bank-grade encryption to protect the transmission of data/information and each customer’s digital files.
Earth Class Mail has helped numerous law firms and lawyers over the years. One such client is Visionary Law Group, a workers’ compensation law firm that was handling their own mail and spending a lot of their valuable time self-scanning documents. In fact, the firm spent nights scanning documents so they could have time during the day to complete their essential tasks. Visionary Law Group then implemented Earth Class Mail’s solution to help ease the administrative burden of opening and manually scanning postal mail. The law firm ended up going paperless as a result and has never looked back. “We are 100 percent paperless because of Earth Class Mail,” says Chris Lyle, Partner, Visionary Law Group.
Similarly, a lawyer with an office in San Francisco, California had a desire to go paperless and started using Earth Class Mail to digitize his mail. Shortly after beginning with the service, he realized that by using a virtual address he no longer needed to maintain physical office space because all of his postal mail was delivered digitally and centrally accessible from the cloud. He now operates a virtual office and works as a remote lawyer saving thousands of dollars a month in rent.
Using a Digital Mailroom to Transform Your Law Firm
When it comes to the legal space, Earth Class Mail vastly reduces the burden of administrative tasks on lawyers, letting them focus their time on practicing law, better serving their clients, and growing their firms. “By digitizing important documents received in the mail, we make it so that customers don’t have to spend time opening and processing postal mail, scanning documents in-house, maintaining hardware, or managing general operations,” explained Garza. Most importantly, the company helps their legal customers achieve a paperless work environment by digitizing discovery documents and other important “legal papers” like deposition records, notices, medical records, court filings, and others documents that come through the postal mail. The company is also able to extract data from multimedia items sent through the mail like CDs and USBs. Lawyers that adopt this technology solution for their mail and paper are able to build out more robust digital workflows. “Importantly, we help lawyers with adoption of technology to bring efficiencies into their office or practice to help with scaling and revenue growth,” says Garza.
Earth Class Mail will continue to learn more about their legal customers and the unique challenges they face. This includes understanding the multiple types of documents coming into a lawyer’s office that require immediate action. The company also plans to leverage artificial intelligence to identify different document types and provide intelligent recommendations on actions to be taken. Earth Class Mail has broadened its understanding of lawyers’ existing workflows, especially in small to medium-sized law firms. They pay keen attention to how existing customers adopt the service, how they interact with their digital postal mail, and how they integrate it with their digital workflows. Earth Class Mail’s current focus is on offering integrations with some of the legal industry’s top practice management softwares, an initiative that should prove very beneficial to the legal profession.