By: Ernie Svenson

What's the best scanner for a law office?

If you want to be truly paperless you need to buy at least one new piece of hardware. Yes, there's no way of avoiding this: you need a scanner.

Okay, I know. Believe me, I know: you absolutely dread the prospect of trying to find an office scanner. (I can even see you wince as I'm writing).

You’re convinced in your marrow that finding the right scanner for your office is going to be a Titanic catastrophe. Probably that's because you (rightly) distrust machines with moving parts that do stuff to paper (see e.g. printers).

If scanners are like printers then you expect to wind up with something (1) hard to set up (2) tricky to use, and (3) totally unreliable. Oh, and super-expensive too, right?

Yeah, that's what I'd probably be thinking too.

Except that, there’s this one amazing scanner that’s inexpensive, easy to set up and use, and incredibly reliable. The scanner I recommend is suitable for any kind of law firm, and any kind of lawyer or legal professional.

It’s consistently been the top performer and most beloved tool for all folks who are serious about being paperless.

It’s hard to believe that there’s actually a clear choice when it comes to picking a scanner. But the choice is, in fact, quite clear.

So when lawyers ask “which scanner should I get?” the answer we have been consistently giving for many years is this:

Get the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner

Actually, the more precise answer is: get the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 desktop scanner (there are other Fujitsu ScanSnap models that we’ll get to later). Here are some of its really great features:

  • Costs less than $500 (usually around $420 at Amazon.com)
  • Takes up very little space (easy to keep on a desk for quick access)
  • Easy to set up: works with Macs or PCs
  • Easy to operate: one big button to push
  • Holds up to 50 sheets of paper in the automatic feeder
  • Scans at a rate of up to 25 pages per minute
  • Scans in color, with auto-detection if desired, or black & white
  • Scans both sides of a page in one pass (duplex) and ignores blank pages.
  • Automatically rotates upside down pages
  • Handles letter and legal sized pages, even if intermixed
  • Straightens skewed pages
  • Comes with software that automatically makes PDFs text-searchable
  • Can scan wirelessly to a computer, or to iPads, iPhones or Android devices
  • Incredibly reliable (rarely jams or misfeeds)

Avoid other scanners

Some lawyers know nothing about the ScanSnap but have heard of the "Neat Receipts" scanner, which is sold at kiosks in many busy airports. Those lawyers sometimes wonder: gee, should I try the Neat scanner? The answer is NO. Most definitely not!

The popular legal site, Lawyerist, reviewed the NeatDesk scanner in 2011 and quickly concluded that the then-current ScanSnap model (the 1500) was far superior.

Sam Glover wrote that the NeatWorks software, which powers the Neat scanner, “is slooow.” His summary paragraph says it all: “The NeatDesk is a very good scanner for the typical consumer, but a poor choice for a law office.”

So, if you’ve been wondering which scanner you should get for your law office you can stop now. The choice is clear. Opt for something other than the Fujitsu ScanSnap and you’ll likely wind up frustrated and disappointed.

Rarely do the technology gods give hapless technophobes an easy and obvious choice. So don't suffer the wrath of Zeus: just get the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500.

The other ScanSnaps I mentioned earlier are reliable and less expensive. But they're too small and not as powerful. You might want one of them later on when you need to scan documents outside the office (at a deposition, for example).

In your office, however, you need a workhorse scanner. Something that can quickly and easily convert stacks of paper. Bottom line?

Get the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner iX500.

And if you want to sign up for my free 10-part email course on how to create a paperless law practice, click here. - http://bit.ly/Paperless10Part

Ernie Svenson teaches lawyers how to use technology strategically and sensibly to make more money, more easily so they can spend more time relaxing away from the office. You can start learning for free at LawFirmAutopilot.com.

Ernie is a nationally recognized speaker and author. He also runs a website called PaperlessChase.com that teachers lawyers how to go paperless.