BLM embarks on journey to become paperless firm

30 Apr 2019

Paperless mission launches in Birmingham office this month as firm executes digital strategy

  • Firm’s goal is for half of its lawyers to be working in a paperless way by 2020

  • Birmingham office move sees firm taking 20% less space due to paperless approach

BLM has set out its mission to become a paperless firm, launching a paperless drive in its Birmingham office.

The firm embarked on a ‘paper-lite’ approach in 2015 when it launched its flagship office in EC3, London, reducing its filing space and encouraging the scanning of all case files and post in a number of its London based teams. This was supported by the introduction of collaboration software to support agile working.

The paper-lite approach has since been rolled out in Bristol, Leeds and Southampton, resulting in a reduction of six million less sheets of paper. The firm will now go one step further with Birmingham becoming paperless. The firm's goal is for half of its lawyers to be working in a paperless way during 2020.

The firm has reapplied existing technology‎ to support its paperless agenda and its agile and flexible working approach. The future aim is for the firm’s target savings, derived from a paperless strategy, to amount to up to £3.5m every year.

The Birmingham office will remain in the same location but will move from five floors to four later this month. Even with the addition of a new client lounge the team has reduced its floor space by 20% in its bid to become paperless.

Part of its paperless approach involves scanning and distributing incoming post automatically in the form of a virtual post tray to every individual. The scanned documents are also saved into the firm’s case management system with support of Intapp software, allowing full access to case information from anywhere. The firm is now exploring ways to deliver electronic new matter instructions, with the aim for lawyers to run cases without paper, from start to finish.

Matthew Harrington, senior partner at BLM, said: “Like most firms in the legal sector we had become heavily reliant on paper and hard copy case files; this not only damages the environment but is also costly in terms of paper use and storage. In a drive to increase technology adoption across the business, we’ve invested in some tools which will make ‎sharing information easier. We use collaboration software and we empower people to work in an agile way, so it’s important that we make paperless working a real focus over the next few years.

“We call it The BLM Way of paperless working and it’s something our business improvement function is working hard to establish throughout the whole firm. The aim is to roll this out alongside our Workplace location strategy as less reliance on paper and physical storage will reduce the need for as much office space in the future.”

In the last few years, as part of its business improvement programme, BLM has invested in technology to streamline ways of working and manage operational performance. An example includes rolling out BLM Drive, its real time performance management system. The firm's digital strategy also includes introducing technology to support clients, which it’s done though the creation of an analytics function and a partnership with the London School of Economics.

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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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