Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Need To Buy Expensive Stationery

My first laser printer was a big Hewlett Packard, purchased roughly ten to fifteen years ago. From that day forward I eliminated pre-printed stationery. Now every piece of printed paper in our office comes from our laser printers, including our letterhead. We implemented this practice for costs savings, and convenience, and we have never looked back. Other lawyers have similar stories. The ever eloquent Ernest Svenson on his PDF For Lawyers blog explains his transition.

Letterhead When I started my solo practice 3 years ago I faced the usual smorgasbord of choices, among them was the question of law firm stationery. Having lived through the disruption of Katrina, I had decided that everything I did from then forward would be as simple and efficient as possible. The nomadic life I lived after Katrina caused me to become hyper-aware about how many office procedures are relics of the industrial era. Office stationery is one of those relics.

Pre-printed letterhead was necessary before high-quality laser printers became affordable and widely used. Any small business is going to have a laser printer, probably even one that prints in color. Even most ink-jet printers are capable of printing high-quality text, which most people would not regard as cheap or unprofessional.

True, having your letterhead appear on high-quality stock paper is nice. But is it worth the trade-off in decreased inefficiency? If you want to move towards a paperless workflow you need to consider all of the small inefficiency leaks. Pre-printed letterhead is a systemic issue, and one that creates many bottlenecks. And, of course, it also adds cost.

Think about it. If you have pre-printed letterhead, then you need to have a special tray in every printer that will be used to print outgoing letters. Or, worse, you'll have to insert the letterhead before each print job that requires it. This means that you'll have mistakes that will require reprinting, or you'll have problems when the printer runs out of letterhead paper.

If you digitize your letterhead then you dispense with the need for having 'special paper' as well as the need to make sure that each printer is stocked with that special paper. All you'd have to do is call up the form document that has your 'letterhead' already included and then create your letter and print it out. If you are sending the letter by email as a PDF then you don't need pre-printed letterhead anyway. And, frankly, the digital letterhead will probably look a lot better in PDF form.

So, you're now convinced that you need to digitize your letterhead. How do you do it?

Creating your digital letterhead is as easy as using your word processor to layout a document with header and footer information that reflects something similar to what your current letterhead looks like. If you don't know enough about word processing to do this then find someone in your office who does. The process might take an hour or so the first time; you'll get caught up in tinkering and tweaking things, which is fine. But in the end, no matter how long it takes, you'll have a great looking letterhead that is stored digitally in your computer.

You'll be free of the hassle of having to order, stock and re-provision special letterhead. You'll save time and money, and increase the efficiency of your practice in a small, but very important, way. Remember, we're now living in the information age, not the industrial age.
Please click here for Ernie's original article.

Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.

1 comment:

John E. Harding, JD, CFLS said...

My thanks the Gerry Riskin for helping me with the correct spelling of stationery. JH

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