Here at Fuji Xerox Australia we’re always trying to improve our understanding of the challenges being faced by Australian businesses. We recently completed research into documents and document processes within the Australian legal industry. This research, completed with Colmar Brunton, shows that Australian law firms continue to rely on paper documents for the bulk of their work despite increased mobile work practices within the profession.
A survey of over 100 Australian law firms (with 300 or less employees), revealed that 80 percent of firms still print some or all documents which they receive electronically while 79 percent use mainly hard-copies when exchanging documents. The main reasons given for printing electronically-received documents were force of habit (43 percent), legal requirements (42 percent) and easier access (31 percent). These findings indicate that there is both a sense of inertia when it comes to processes keeping up with technology as well as confusion about the handling of electronic and hard-copy records in an increasingly digital environment.
The research also revealed that the steady growth of mobility in the legal industry still faces several significant challenges, including the continuing dominance of printed documents and a lack of integration between home, work and mobile devices.
In response to changing business models and growing competition, law firms are increasingly adopting management frameworks that aim to optimise core operations within the business. According to the research, 45 percent of firms now employ a non-practising managing director, while a growing percentage incorporate fixed-price billing into their pricing arrangements.
As a profession whose primary resource is knowledge, the legal profession stands to gain substantially from electronic document processes that optimise their workflows for greater efficiencies. This evolution in both courts and offices means a solid understanding of core business trends, particularly BYOD and document management, will be of growing benefit to Australian law firms.
For more information check out our infographic which illustrates the findings of the research.