Law offices ship differently. While all 10 of the ways offices can save on UPS and FedEx that I mentioned in my last post are valid for law firms, there are some differences. Law firms mostly ship documents but may also ship boxes filled with files. Here are some of the unique differences:
- The most significant requirement that all law firms have is the capability to track and bill back clients for shipping. This means that every item must have a valid cost center code for a specific client and the case number. Law firms may be working on more than one case for a client and accuracy is paramount. If a matter is not tracked, then the firm bears the expense and it affects profitability. If an item is accidently charged to the wrong client, it can be a major problem. Not only do they look bad, but it takes an administrative effort to clean up the mistake and they probably end up eating the shipping charges. A system that validates that the correct client number and legal matter has been entered can eliminate mistakes.
- Legal firms can ship locally, throughout the United States, and internationally. They need to have the ability to track couriers, local delivery companies, regional carriers, and messenger services as well as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and the US Post Office. Since some legal matters require a signature or proof of delivery, they need to be able to ship with Delivery Confirmation, Registered Mail and Certified Mail.
- Large law firms typically have more than one office. The capacity to have an enterprise shipping technology that ties together all the offices is advantageous. This will allow any shipment for any carrier from any office for any client to be properly accounted for and billed back to the client.
- Many law firms have outsourced or hired a third party to manage their mailrooms. They typically have “free” systems from the carriers and use a separate system for FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the US Post Office. The ability to use one multi-carrier system that has all the history and tracking in one location for all the offices minimizes time searching for information and makes it easier to consolidate reporting. This provides full visibility into the document chain-of-custody.
- Most law firms have a customer relationship management system (CRM) or Microsoft Outlook where they store the contact information for their clients. The capacity to integrate these systems so that the address data does not have to be retyped saves time and eliminates mistakes.