You do your best to use technology to run your practice. Your documents are digitized and neatly arranged by client and matter or in some other logical way. Perhaps you have invested in NetDocuments, Worldox or Time Matters for document management. So why can’t you always find a document when you search for it?
In this article we will discuss the cause of this problem and recommend a tool that allows documents to be found across any document management system, practice management system, or Windows folder structure.
How many documents cannot be found?
Every document that needs to be reviewed, shared, or redacted carries a danger if it can’t be found when needed. But time after time, technical audits of the files across a law firm’s system reveal that 20% to 30% of their documents are image-based – such as scanned PDFs – and can’t be found by searching document text. Most firms don’t know that they have this issue. Others believe they can find everything, because they use optical character recognition (OCR) software through their scanners, PDF converters like Adobe Acrobat, or other software. But each of these solutions only cuts partway through the problem, and many documents or document pages are left unconverted.
Finding the Gaps in OCR
How is it possible to miss such a large percentage of documents, even with existing OCR tools in place? It’s simply hard to make sure that every document that arrives via email, fax, or document download gets converted to text by a staff member, every time. Scanner tools only catch the documents coming through the scanner, rather than via email or document download. Most people receiving files by email don’t have time to convert every attachment they receive, or to place a priority on converting everything in their inbox to OCR.
An Easy Solution to a Time Consuming Chore
Automate the OCR Process with Symphony OCR
The best solution eliminates manual effort in converting documents to OCR. That is why we recommend Symphony OCR as the right tool to convert PDFs from image-only to text-searchable. Symphony OCR is a utility that sits on the server and without any user effort, scans through all PDFs and adds an invisible and removable text layer to all documents, throughout a firm’s network. This enables text-based searches through document management systems and Windows folders, while preserving the original data. Symphony OCR makes almost all documents searchable, without user intervention, and maintains the integrating of the size and content of every file. While Symphony will not convert digitally signed PDFs, so as not to invalidate the digital signature, almost all others can be converted and then can be found in a text search. As a result, Symphony OCR solves the missing document problem and frees the staff from a time-consuming chore.
Taming the Unknown
Would you like to find out how many of your firm’s documents cannot be found? The Symphony people make a free analyzer available that can go through your system’s files and folders and determine how many documents are unconverted to text. We would be happy to install the analyzer for you at no obligation. Contact us at 877.357.0555 or write to us at [email protected].
Andrea founded Amicus Consulting, Inc. in 1990, as the first legal technology consulting firm in Westchester County. Her articles on legal technology and ethics have been published in the Westchester County Bar Association and the Westchester Women’s Bar Association newsletters, and she has appeared on various New York State Bar Association programs. She has delivered many presentations on technology topics related to legal practice for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Andrea works with a wide variety of law firms, legal departments, and law schools throughout the Greater New York metropolitan area. Andrea is a Certified Independent Consultant (CIC) for LexisNexis Time Matters, a CIC for LexisNexis PCLaw, and a CIC for LexisNexis Billing Matters. She is also a Certified Consultant for Timeslips, a Certified Consultant for Amicus Attorney, and an Authorized VAR/Reseller for Worldox.