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Going Paper "Less"

4 min read


A Digital Transformation Case Study from Ruder Ware Law


Ruder Ware Law is one of Wisconsin’s largest and most successful law firms with offices throughout Wisconsin and over 90 years of experience serving clients around the world. Like any law firm, they have amassed a significant number of legal documents and client records. In an industry full of paper, how do you go paper “less”? With the help of Angela Mothes, Office Manager at Ruder Ware Law, we’ll take a closer look at their document challenges and how EO Johnson supported their digital transformation.


The Challenges:

  • Record retrieval. Working with hard copy paper recorders was difficult and time consuming for Ruder Ware Law staff. There was a checkout system for files from their Records Department which required a request and retrieval system along with a return process.
  • Collaboration and access. Ruder Ware also wanted to provide their staff with the ability to access information simultaneously so that attorneys could collaborate from wherever they were located.
  • Storage space. There was a lack of physical storage space due to the high volume of paper records being generated.
  • Discovery documents. In litigation matters, attorneys must request any documents related to the case from opposing counsel. These discovery documents presented challenges for Ruder Ware Law. Because discovery documents came in large quantities and were in paper form, the review process was slow and inefficient, making the deadline for returning the records even more imposing.

Objectives and Goals:

The primary goal was to collaborate with Ruder Ware Law to support a cultural shift toward digital record keeping. Each unique client record may contain a wide variety of sub-folders and page sizes based upon the complexity of the case, so a unique customized solution would be developed. Scanned electronic records would have to be consistent, and the conversion process would need to be seamless to make the transition as easy as possible. A goal was set forth to collaborate with the Records Department to identify approximately 200 boxes each year to be scanned by EO Johnson.


Solution and Implementation:

A strategy was developed to promote the paper to digital change in culture that maximized automation and cost savings. Client files were thoroughly reviewed and scanned with an indexing structure established. Ruder Ware provided a database file with detailed information for every file sent for processing. This minimized the amount of manual hand key indexing, saving considerable cost.

“We appreciate how the EO Johnson Scanning Team listens to us. If we have questions on how best to manage our file scanning based on a limited budget, or ideas on how additional information may be beneficial, they listen to us, discuss our options, and provide us with a well-considered and thorough answer. Not only do they work with us effectively, but their response time is also phenomenal,” says Mothes about the planning and implementation process.

Records were scanned and Premium Level Quality Control was performed with a one-to-one review comparing every hardcopy page to every scanned image. Mothes adds, “You will not find a more organized, well thought-out, and seamless process for handling your scanning needs. The quality of their scanning is excellent.”

The client file data output was custom named with text searchable PDF files within an organized folder structure. The delivery process is secure with Ruder Ware Law downloading the completed data directly from the EO Johnson server.

For the discovery documents, a structured program was established that would meet deadlines and provide data back in a way where the attorney review process would be most efficient. Mothes describes, “They make the process simple for us. We call them, they pick up the records and scan them in the time we have allotted to have the discovery records, and they return the physical documents and scanned documents to us in an organized manner. It is all seamless.”


The Results:

Since 2016, over 1,800 boxes of documents have been scanned, producing over 4 million total images. “In the time I have been working with the EO Johnson Scanning Team, they have definitely exceeded my expectations, and continue to do so each year. I have never worked with a team with the level of understanding, care, and organization as EO Johnson. Their operation appears seamless to our Records Team, and we have complete trust in working with them on our projects,” says Mothes about the experience.

Mothes further reflected on the goals originally set forth and the specific results they have experienced through the digital transformation of their documents.

  • Accessibility: “We can accommodate our attorney needs by having our client files readily accessible, in a searchable format by having them scanned. When we have multiple attorneys or paralegals working on the same client matter, they can all easily access up-to-date documents from the electronic file, making them more productive.”
  • Efficiency: “Now, employees can find files in a shorter amount of time by directly accessing the electronic files from their computer. This requires less staff time and less process laden tasks. The employee can retain the document they need more efficiently and thereby, move on with their immediate work.”
  • Space Availability: “Our firm is also able to reduce the physical space needed to store physical client files, thereby saving money that can be better used throughout the firm.”
  • Flexibility: “We know we can count on EO Johnson to work us into their schedule and get the discovery documents scanned when needed. Having this service available is valuable to our attorneys and staff.”
  • Security: “Scanning closed client files has also reduced the need to destroy older files to make space for newly closed files. Now, if an attorney were to need an older client file, he or she can easily access it in a scanned format without the concern that the file has been destroyed.”

How can your organization go paper “less”?

Regardless of industry, being completely paperless probably isn’t a realistic goal for any organization. But if you are looking to make a similar cultural shift to Ruder Ware Law’s, your employees are likely to understand and support going paper “less.” It might start small with one specific area of your organization, and once viewed as successful, can be incorporated into other areas as well.

EO Johnson is here to help you get started on your paper “less” journey. We can help with the strategy and planning along with the actual bulk scanning of your documents. By moving your organization’s information to a digital format that is within an organized document management system, you can save costs, increase employee efficiency, and ensure document integrity. We are a SOC 2 Type 2 audited business technology service provider. We take information security and data privacy seriously because we know you do too. Contact us to make a plan and start your digital transformation.




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