Recently I, along with Jeremy Hill, Partner at Bingham McHale LLP, and Ike Willett, Associate at Baker & Daniels LLP, participated in a panel presentation that centered on why law firms should move to electronic minute book systems such as Corporate Focus. It was a CLE presentation sponsored by the Indianapolis Bar Association – and a great opportunity to share with other firms in the area the types of efficiencies and responsiveness that Bingham McHale has been able to achieve by moving to electronic minute books for their corporate client records.
The slides from the presentation can be viewed at the bottom of this post. Following is a summary of five key points from the presentation:
- What’s wrong with the traditional paper minute book approach?
The traditional paper-based minute book approach using three-ring binders means that paper records are stored in attorney offices, paralegal offices, client sites, and everywhere in between. When information needs to be located for the purposes of preparing a report, creating a consent, or just to answer a client’s question, paper documents have to be rummaged through to find the information. This results in an inefficient process that wastes time and makes sharing the information difficult.
- What is an electronic minute book system?
An electronic minute book system is a standard, centralized system where you store online copies of all your minute book documents and the related information. When a document needs to be reviewed, all you need to do is open your web browser, log in to the system, and find the document online–you can do it anytime, from anywhere. This allows you to provide access to attorneys, paralegals, and clients in a way that fosters collaboration.
- What else can the electronic minute book process do for me?
When all of your signed corporate documents and the information from these documents (such as ownership records and names of officers/directors) are stored in an online system, you can find documents faster and easily verify the corporate information needed to do your work. You can even generate fully-diluted capitalization tables, corporate data sheets, and consent documents with the push of a button. If the documents were indexed as part of the scanning process, you can also perform a search to find all of the documents in which a specific word or clause was used. An added bonus: You’ll finally be able to get rid of all that paper that is on your desk and in your office that does nothing but clutter your workspace.
- What’s one key lesson that law firms have learned in the transition to electronic minute books?
One key lesson learned is that as with other projects, in order for an electronic minute book to be successful, senior attorneys need to support the new system and legal staff must be diligent in their use. As Ike noted, “Even the best electronic minute book program is useless unless its users commit to developing its content.”
- How do I get started?
The first thing you need to do is think about why you want to move to an electronic minute book system. Think about your specific needs and how this system will benefit your firm. Then, review another recent blog article to learn more: Going Paperless for Minute Book Documents: A Twelve-Step Program.
In summary, an electronic minute book is an essential part of a law firm’s approach to entity life-cycle management for client records. If you have any questions or want to share your experiences using an electronic minute book system, please post your comments.
To see how Corporate Focus can help your firm develop an online minute book, take a look at this online video introduction.