Paper has been used in the workplace for centuries now, and despite widespread initiatives to digitally transform the office, organizations still rely on hard-copy mediums to accomplish a wide range of tasks. But there are a few industries in which paper holds a more special role in operations. Let’s take a look at three sectors where the use of paper is commonplace, and why this is likely to be the case for years to come.

In the world of law, paper is still an essential ally. Whether in the office or in the courtroom, lawyers need paper to develop their cases, track opposing arguments and map out the best possible responses in the moment. There’s a reason why large notepads are referred to as legal pads – they are built for the wear and tear of the courtroom and the endless note -taking that is demanded of the typical lawyer.

On the administrative side of things, paper also plays a key role in the legal environment. When it comes to billing and filing client information, law offices need to be consistent and clear in their practices. After all, there is a great deal of private data stored in the average office. Having archived hard-copy records helps ensure that everything is maintained in a secure, physical space, rather than relying on digital means that cannot be fully trusted.

“Essential records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, Social Security cards and military discharge papers should be kept indefinitely,” according to Consumer Reports contributor Mandy Walker.

Although today’s financial services firms automate micro-transactions by the millions, paper still plays a central role when larger investments and agreements need to be made. Whether it’s a merger, acquisition, buyout or loan, banks must gather the signatures of major stakeholders and ensure that everything is set in stone. Otherwise, the legitimacy of a deal may be called into question down the line, which is bad news for all parties.

Individuals also expect to have choice when it comes to managing their bank statements and paying their bills. Since so much of consumer banking is tied to the customer experience, it’s important that organizations give people what they want. And because many individuals still prefer paper-based filing and billing, it’s only natural that hard copies be distributed on a regular basis.

“Also hold on to defined-benefit plan documents, estate-planning documents, life-insurance policies and an inventory of your bank safe-deposit box (share a copy with your executor or your attorney).” continued Walker in her article for Consumer Reports.

Real estate
While much of the process has been digitized, there are many aspects of the real estate realm that rely on paper. Properties have a great deal of paperwork that must be dealt with, especially if they have been around for more than a decade. Multi-generational buildings and homes, in fact, have a longer paper trail than many modern businesses. To combat risk and ensure that buyers are getting the complete picture, proper paper management is essential.

Additionally, when it comes time to make a final transaction, agents and buyers still need to sign on the dotted line to ensure they are committed to the investment. Of course, there are a number of legal and financial documents that must also be accounted for, many of which should be archived in hard copy format. It’s clear that in these key areas of law, commerce and real estate services, paper still plays a role, and will continue to do so for years.