Behind every legal firm is a mound of paperwork. And while a physical mound of paperwork sounds bad, what if you couldn’t see that mound of critical paperwork because it’s, say, scattered throughout your computer in digital form? Well, that sounds way worse.
Managing digital information is a challenge for all desk workers, but you have to feel for lawyers in particular, whose businesses revolve around contracts, deed, and leases, to name just a few of the key documents that they might receive, sign, send, and store digitally each workday.
Journey Law—a Cornwall, Ontario, Canada firm specializing in corporate and commercial real estate, estate planning and administration, wills and powers of attorney, trusts, and municipal law—certainly felt the digital pain with email so central to their business while it simultaneously bombarded their inboxes with personal notes, non-essential messaging, and plain old junk.
So here’s their (ahem) journey, from digital deluge to inbox efficiency.
Pre-Pandemic Paperwork Was Still a Lot of Paperwork
Remember those halcyon days before the pandemic turned our lives upside down? No? We don’t really either.
But Michele Allinotte—Journey Law’s founder, owner and principal lawyer—does, and it wasn’t all fun and games. “Even before the pandemic, we operated on a mostly paperless basis,” Michele notes. While great for the environment, a paperless trail is far more difficult for the mind to track.
Mostly paperless means you’re mostly digital, and as we all know, digital documents are routed primarily by email. In fact, Michele was the lucky recipient of much of Journey Law’s email because not only is she the owner and a working lawyer with a heavy client load, she also acts as office manager and tech support for the small office. “I receive a lot of emails a day, not just for file-related matters, but for office and administrative matters, [as well as] requests to sign internal documents via Adobe Sign,” she notes. Not only that, but she’s also regularly copied on the rest of the team’s emails.
Plus, like many entrepreneurs, Michele doesn’t have much separation between personal and business emails. So if an email is important, “It needs to be emailed to my work email,” she says, and so, important personal emails are also in her inbox’s mix.
The result? So much email.
Managing Email Overload Became Essential
Eventually, the email influx turned into a situation that had to be addressed, so Michele tried what was available through her email provider—with little success. “Filters and rules were just not working for me,” Michele notes. “I was missing important emails.” Then the pandemic hit, making social distancing the norm and digital correspondence more essential. Michele started receiving approximately 200 emails per day.
With the uptick in email and traditional filters a failure, Michele was in need of a solution that actually worked. She believes she first noticed SaneBox in Lawyerist and was intrigued by its filtering process. So she tried SaneBox—and finally found a solution that suited her. “The filtering of emails between important emails that should go in my primary inbox, then the filter for cc’d emails, plus the SaneLater and SaneNews filters mean that I can triage which emails to review – generally those in my primary inbox,” she says. “I can glance at my cc’d, Later and News inboxes during the day to see if there is anything important, but I don’t have to deal with each of those emails one by one to find the important ones during my work day.”
Non-work-related emails are also under control and properly filtered. “With one or two clicks, SaneBox knows that emails from my kid’s school or from the school board can go to SaneLater, so I can review them during a quiet moment,” Michele notes.
She especially likes the SaneBlackHole feature. “These days, you get marketing emails for literally every site where you input your email address.” Like most of us, sometimes Michele wants those emails, but normally, she doesn’t. “If I ignore them, they go to the SaneBlackHole, and it is one less email for me to deal with.”
Not only has SaneBox helped Michele’s business, it has helped her mind. “I have ADHD and removing non-urgent emails from my view during the work day helps me be more productive and focused,” she says. So SaneBox’s sorting function has been key for Michele. “I can respond to the important emails and not even see the unimportant ones until I go to review.”
Not to say SaneBox is a magic wand. As Michele notes, “SaneBox won’t make you get less emails—aside from the ones that end up in the BlackHole that you should have unsubscribed from anyway.” What SaneBox does is make your inbox manageable, so you can better do your job. As Michele puts it, “The triaging of email is essential for anyone who gets time-sensitive emails regularly, like most of us who work in the legal field.”
Remember that mound of digital paperwork we mentioned at the beginning? Basically, SaneBox helps this lawyer blast through it.
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