by Keith Foote, Court Account Manager – California Region, File & ServeXpress
I managed law firms for many years, so I am never surprised at the cost of moving paper around. It’s BIG, and there are many different ways in which those costs are incurred. Some costs are recoverable, but many are not. Some costs are more easily recognizable than others. Some costs are borne of habit. Frequently they’re the result of waste and inefficiencies. In any event, they’re expenses that ultimately affect the bottom line. Fortunately, I have an excellent suggestion for eliminating some of your paper costs – e-Filing and e-Service.
Obvious costs: You have to buy the paper. Per sheet is pretty nominal, but if yours is a large, active law firm your paper budget is probably a large line item. Every sheet going through a printer or a copier incurs a click charge. As it’s printing, you’re paying someone to watch the collator and unjam the machine. Maybe that’s the same person you’ll pay to assemble the documents, stuff the envelopes, affix the postage and walk it to the mail drop.
Hidden costs: You had to store that paper. The toner, too. Your secretary was too busy running around looking for your copy job and getting a check for the filing fee to answer your phone. The time it took to unjam the machine was time lost as was the return trip from the mail drop that included a stop at the coffee shop or some street corner banter.
E-Filing and e-Service are a win-win. Time and materials aside, consider the postage alone. Each of those envelopes, sent to the court and five other firms at $4.00 each cost you $24.00 in postage. Of course, not every brief is finished early enough to beat a deadline by US Mail. Send your documents by overnight delivery and your cost climbs to $120.00 or send them by messenger for $90.00 to $150.00.
Electronically filing with the court and e-Serving the other parties in most California courts would have only cost $15.00 total.
And don’t forget about litigation file maintenance and storage. After your document has been electronically served, your entire case docket is available online, to everyone in your firm, from any internet connection. It remains there even after your case is over. Since you’ll never have to store another closed file again, you’ll never have to pull another file from storage either. Further savings.
Old habits are hard to break, but might be worth trying.