The ambitious Paperless Project at the law office of Spanish and Portuguese heavyweights Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira was made possible by contentCrawler, which provided an automated backend solution that delivered huge benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity and searchability as the firm went “less paper.”
About Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira
Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira is the go-to-firm for all legal matters in Spain and Portugal. They
have 25 offices in Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, where they advise on Spanish, Portuguese,
French, Moroccan, and European Union law. The firm has a well-earned reputation for its work in the
Iberian, Latin American, and African legal services markets. The firm represents over 70% of Spain's
largest listed companies (Ibex 35), over 70% of Portugal's (PSI20) and many companies on the Euro
Stoxx 50 index.
The business challenge
Three years ago Cuatrecasas launched an ambitious Paperless Project. The firm wanted to drastically
reduce the use of paper at the firm. This would see paper files removed from common areas and
work desks. Also, the firm wanted to reduce the volume of documents stored at internal and
external archive services.
The Paperless Project started with a pilot program in one of the firm's medium-sized satellite offices
in Girona (Spain). The plan was to digitize thousands of documents, which would be profiled into
the firm's NetDocuments document management system.
The firm was fully aware that there was a significant amount of non-searchable content in its
document management system since its Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) did not have OCR'ing
capability to convert the scanned images to text-searchable documents. "This had the potential
to be a huge problem going forward as the Paperless Project expanded," recalls Pascual Boil,
Applications Director at Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira. So, the firm invested in some high-powered
scanners with OCR'ing capability.
However, this brought with it a new set of problems. Staff in the scanning department had to
be trained to save documents into the NetDocuments document management system. Also,
documents were sent to the scanning room without separators and so everything got scanned,
which resulted in extremely large files. "It was at this point that we realized our approach was
wrong," explains Pascual.
Cuatrecasas changed tact and started to look at the problem from the backend rather than from
the front, i.e. convert the documents to text-searchable documents in the NetDocuments libraries
once they had been profiled. This would require a solution that could handle and process legacy as
well as newly profiled documents. The firm considered two possible solutions: contentCrawler from
DocsCorp and OCR Server from Workshare.
The firm had a clear idea what it wanted—a fully automated solution that required little or no
intervention by staff. Image documents would be assessed, converted to image-based PDFs and
re-profiled back into the document management system as new documents. The original files
profiled by the lawyers would be maintained in the system. In the end, "we decided to go with
contentCrawler as it was the only solution to tick all the boxes," recalls Pascual.
In order to determine the scale of the problem, the firm ran the contentCrawler audit tool across
a portion of the document management system, finding that more than 17% of documents were
non-searchable and therefore "invisible" to index and search technology. Moreover, this number was
expected to grow as the Paperless Project expanded to other offices.
The next stage was to convert and OCR the legacy documents in the KM and DM libraries, which
totaled over 8 million documents. contentCrawler can work in one of two, or both modes—Backlog
mode and Active Monitoring mode. Cuatrecasas decided to break this out into two phases.
Once the backlog had been reduced, contentCrawler would monitor the iManage libraries for
recently profiled image-based documents, which would be converted to text-searchable PDFs and
profiled as a new version of the document. All of this happened in the background with no staff
It is hard to imagine how the Paperless Project could have been a success without contentCrawler.
It resolved the major stumbling blocks that were impeding the project's expansion, i.e. relying on
successfully OCR'ing documents at every entry point in the system and relying on staff to follow
100% of the processes 100% of the time.
The fact that the solution was completely automated meant that it could run 24/7 without staff
intervention. It also meant that there was no need for any other OCR'ing hardware or software.
By performing the conversion process at the backend, it had no impact on staff workflows or
processes. They could continue to profile documents into the document management system
without worrying about OCR as a process or a workflow.
Spanish law firm Cuatrecasas embarked on an ambitious project to reduce paper files across its
many firms—Paperless Project. The firm deployed contentCrawler as an end-to-end automated
solution to ensure that all the scanned documents in its NetDocuments document management
system were truly text-searchable. The contentCrawler solution eliminated the need for other OCR
hardware and software as well as trying to get staff to follow processes 100% of the time.