Shipping & Mailing

3 reasons why legal can’t ignore shipping problems

By Stephanie Benedetto, Manager, Product Marketing, Shipping and Tracking Solutions, Pitney Bowes

Law firms have more than enough work on their plates to deal with – from meeting clients to legal discovery to preparing court documents to actually appearing in court. At what point in that schedule can anyone possibly have time to think about their firm’s shipping processes?

But, that’s exactly the problem – if you don’t have paralegals, office managers or administrative assistants keeping an eye on a firm’s shipping and receiving practices, it’s all too easy for package problems to quickly snowball into cost and efficiency troubles. Here are a few reasons why the legal sector can’t afford to turn a blind eye to how they’re sending or receiving packages:

1.      Shipping legal documents becomes a liability

Think of all the crucial, potentially case-making material that attorneys or paralegals need shipped between themselves, their firms and their clients. Being able to receive, control and deliver these documents or packages in an efficient, transparent manner is essential. You don’t want to jeopardize a case or a client’s legal standing because a piece of evidence was misplaced by a firm’s mail center.

Consider the 2003 case of a New York law firm that had been representing a death-row inmate and accidentally returned an envelope of court orders that hadn’t been opened, consequently leading the inmate to lose his appeal. That case was ultimately deemed worthy of a new hearing by the Supreme Court, which ruled that the aforementioned firm had improperly managed the inmate’s documents, but not all cases get do-overs like that – and you don’t want to lose on the first try because of a processing error or a logistical hiccup in your mailroom.

2.      No signatures, no paper trail

If an incoming package doesn’t require a signature for delivery, then who’s to say with any definitive certainty that a given package or envelope made it on time to the right recipient? Without signatures providing a paper-based audit trail, you might spend an unnecessary number of hours digging through file cabinets, the mailroom and stacks of paper lying around trying to find that crucial document that was supposedly delivered but with no actual receipt of delivery. Compiling evidence and paperwork for court cases can become a race against time, and the last thing you want is to waste hours on the clock trying to track down that paperwork when it should be readily available.

3.      Poor shipping practices drive up costs

Not paying enough attention to a law firm’s shipping and receiving practices doesn’t just open up liabilities for missing packages or mail pieces, it also means you could be neglecting a steady growth in shipping costs.

For instance, law firms that are either not giving due attention to their in-house shipping and mailing practices, or are deliberately cutting back certain processes for the sake of saving costs, may not invest in more modern tech-driven mailroom solutions. But, failing to invest in those solutions can backfire. For one, it leads to more dissatisfied and distressed employees, who are trying to track and process incoming or outgoing shipments with out-of-date tools.

More than that, it prevents your mailroom from executing processing or reporting practices that are designed to cut costs. As our own Tom Hazel notes, many legal firms tend to lose 10-12 percent in revenue because of poor or absent mailroom reporting practices. An effort to avoid spending money on shipping practices could end up costing your firm money precisely because you avoided spending on those practices.

Pitney Bowes SendSuite® Tracking Online is exactly the kind of modern, tech-driven solution that can help legal firms reduce mailroom operational costs, unburden front-office employees and guarantee that personnel are receiving and sending the packages they need, on time and to their intended recipients, with transparent reporting all along the way.  Sign up for a 30 day free trial today.

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