On occasion, we’ll cover fundamental considerations for your practice. These are resources that, in your hectic schedule, you have likely overlooked, taken for granted, or have concluded are too complicated to implement for your practice. Our first practice basic deals with thermal fax paper, which is a frequently overlooked but valuable office tool.
Thermal fax paper has been around for decades and is still in use in many areas (gas station receipts and the popular Game Boy Printer are good examples). Many law office management consultants snicker at the use of thermochromist technology, but let them snicker. The disadvantages of thermal fax paper are actually true advantages when compared with traditional paper. Here are just three of the fundamental advantages:
1. Client Security
Because thermal fax paper is heat-activated, it is often incredibly easy to deal with protecting or destroying thermal-paper versions of sensitive client documents. On a hot day, for instance, you can leave sensitive thermal paper faxes in your car. The heat will act to darken the pages and make any text unreadable. Thus, no real need for expensive shredders. Redaction could also be accomplished with precisely focused heat, either from a heat gun or a simple blow dryer, eliminating the need for expensive redaction software.
2. Built-In Scrolling
Because thermal fax paper usually comes in rolls, the printed paper has a ready-to-use scrolling aspect that can be useful for storing client and office documents. While many newer thermal fax machines have automated paper cutting, you’ll want to avoid those machines, as they defeat the fundamental advantage of automated scrolling. If, however, the scrolling annoys you, consider using one or two document management paperweights to flatten the paper for more linear storage.
Have a fifty page brief to print and store in the office? Print it through a thermal-based fax machine, put a rubber band around it, and you’ve got a lightweight and nicely scrolled version of your best work. Tie a colorful ribbon around it and pop it into a recycled paper towel or mailing tube, and you’ve just impressed your client with an official-looking scrolled legal document. After all, which is more impressive? A sheaf of papers that get shoved around and misplaced, or a long scroll that unrolls as your client (or the court) reads through your work. We’d pick the scroll every time.