Whenever I talk to lawyers about switching to a digital workflow system I always get the same question: what’s the best way to switch? The answer: all at once. Next question. What’s the second best way?
Ah, excellent question. And the answer is: just work on becoming a mobile lawyer. The more mobile you are the less dependent on paper you’ll become (after all you aren’t going to be very mobile if you have to drag tons of paper around with you). I was pretty mobile before Katrina pushed me into that extreme form of mobility known as nomadism. But Katrina was good because it forced me to think more deeply about how to diminish my reliance on paper, and anything else that would keep me tethered to a specific location.
One thing that is hard to escape from is your physical mailing address. You pretty much have to have one, and that means your mail will go to that location. And then you have to figure out how to retrieve it from a distant place. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have your mail sent to a place that scanned it and sent it to you by email? Well, turns out there is such a place. It’s called Earth Class Mail.
You have to choose to have mail delivered to one of 18 regional P.O. centers. For about $10 per month they’ll scan up to 35 envelopes and email you the image. You then decide if you want them to shred the envelope and its contents, or open it and scan the paper. You get up to 50 pages scanned for the $10 monthly fee and then pay .25 per page after that. There is a corporate package, and soon they will be adding the ability to electronically cash checks.
Obviously, this is not worthwhile for the average person. But if you are on a long trip, or if you don’t plan to spend time in any one place for very long this is the way to get your paper mail.
P.S. If you want a practice optimized for remote work & virtual collaboration, get this 24-page guide.
Since you reviewed this service the rates have changed considerably. For that minimal number of scans you mention the rate has more than doubled to $40-50 per month.
The new rates are not even advertised yet, but they have notified all new customers of the new rates.
I’m glad to see other attorneys are considering the Earth Class Mail solution. I was really torn between it and a typical rented mailbox. Of course my wife thought Earth Class Mail seemed ridiculous. 🙂
For me, the killer was not being able to have a local address. I’m in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The closest address are Richmond and DC. I didn’t figure clients would like seeing that on my business cards. But if they had an address here, I would probably give them a try. I just love the idea of controlling my mail online.