Finally, Less Time with Paper, More Time with Clients


Today Adobe is releasing something that will make all of our lives a bit easier, and in the legal profession, that goes a long way. But first, a walk down memory lane.

I began my career with blue fingers. You may have as well.

Copiers were not in widespread use at that time and in my first job as an attorney we typed everything using carbon paper. It worked well unless you made a mistake and then it was back to scratch with blue ink marking your hands and clothing as you fed the paper into the typewriter. It made me fantasize about the paperless office, a concept that was then in its infancy.

A few years later, I joined a firm that had invested in a Wang minicomputer. For many of us in the legal profession, it was our first entrée into the digital realm. But it was painfully slow. So slow that I would go out for lunch while the system checked the spelling of a document.

Often, I had time for a very, very long lunch.

In the late 1980s, the proliferation of word processing programs created a professional Tower of Babel. Anyone remember Volkswriter, Easywriter or Word Star?

Market acceptance of Microsoft Word and the PDF standard (On behalf of attorneys everywhere let me say “thank you”, John) helped us improve productivity, but since then efficiency gains in the legal world have been slow. In part this is because of the profession’s often antediluvian acceptance of technology. But, more importantly, it’s because there haven’t been any compelling solutions that free us to spend more time where we add value to clients – instead of on paperwork.

Until today.

Today Adobe released Adobe Document Cloud creating the next major advance in the way legal and other professionals more effectively support their clients by working more efficiently with critical documents. Adobe has a 30 year history of innovation, but as an attorney this is the one product that excites me the most. Here’s why.

Where earlier in my career, I battled with blue fingers, with Acrobat DC and Document Cloud services I can actually use my fingers to comment, edit and sign documents across touch enabled mobile devices like tablets and phones. Not only does it provide these capabilities, but when making changes or completing document fields the Adobe technology will identify and recreate the font used in the document and insert your changes using the same font!

And, how about this – with Adobe Document Cloud you can take a photo of a document and using Adobe’s Photoshop technology, resize it, adjust the shading, convert it to a PDF document and sign and share it with others. Board consents, agreement signature pages, and government filings are but a few examples of where this feature will increase our efficiency and responsiveness.  (And, this is to say nothing of personal use – how I wish this product was available when my child forgot to bring home a field trip permission slip. Today, they could just send it to me as a photo and the Adobe Document Cloud would allow me to quickly sign it and return it to the school.)

We’ve all seen this happen. You’re working on a document on your desktop at work. You go home and receive a message that the document needs to be edited and finalized earlier than expected. Because your documents reside in Adobe Document Cloud, you will be able to use your mobile device to access the document remotely and make the final changes.

Here’s another prolific pain point that Adobe Document Cloud also solves. For decades, companies and law firms have employed legions of people to walk around with manila folders circulating documents with signature tabs. Endless delay is caused by this archaic process, with documents frequently lost or forgotten on someone’s desk while they are on vacation.  Adobe Document Cloud avoids this with capabilities that enable documents to be managed, tracked and securely controlled providing visibility into where documents are in the routing process, including who has opened them and when.

With Adobe Document Cloud getting signatures from multiple parties on time sensitive documents has never been easier. Instead of faxing signature pages back and forth, Adobe’s eSign service will allow multiple parties to sign a document simultaneously. And, the sender can get real time updates on who has received, opened and signed and the document.

While some of these features and services have been available before, now they are integrated in a single platform with a beautiful, intuitive interface that reflects Adobe’s history of design and focus on innovating with the customer in mind. I encourage you to give it a try.

At last we can finally spend more time focusing on providing value to our clients – rather than paperwork.

Blue fingers are becoming a distant memory.

Mike Dillon, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Mike is anything but your typical general counsel. His distaste for acronym use and “legalese” drove him to rewrite Adobe’s contracts to plain English and develop a whole new writing style guide for the legal community. He oversees legal affairs, public policy, and compliance interests by day, but outside the office, he’s an avid blogger, writer, and adventurist. Given his love for writing, it may come as no surprise that Mike received bachelor’s degrees in communications and sociology from UC San Diego before getting his juris doctor degree from Santa Clara University. If Mike were not at Adobe, he’d like to be playing second baseman for the Oakland A’s.

Mike Dillon, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary