Using Dropbox or another cloud-based storage service is a great way to start a paperless office. A recurring problem, however, is when clients need to get you documents quickly.

A simple solution is to have them fax you documents. You can easily scan them, turn them into PDFs, and stick them in your online storage.

If you use Dropbox, there is a new service called AirDropper that will allow clients to email files directly into your Dropbox.

How it works

The bad news is that you need a Dropbox account, which costs money. The good news is that AirDropper is still free for both you and your clients.

First, connect AirDropper to your Dropbox account. AirDropper then creates a separate folder in your Dropbox just for files uploaded through AirDropper. If you are concerned about security, AirDropper says they only have access to their folder, not your entire Dropbox.

Next, you send a request to your recipient, asking for specific files. AirDropper will then send a secure link that allows them to upload files to the site. AirDropper will then put the files in the designated AirDropper folder in your Dropbox.

Is it secure?

If you are concerned about cloud computing security, I highly suggest reading the comments from last week’s post on secure cloud computing.

AirDropper says that they never keep any of the files, they are merely a pass-through and they do not store any files. Obviously, however, the files must be stored at least temporarily in order to move them into your Dropbox account.

In addition, some lawyers could be leery about allowing a third-party access my Dropbox account, even if they only have access to one folder. This is a legitimate concern. At the same, if you keep paper files, your janitors could just as easily access your files.


  1. Jordan Wynn says:

    I love dropbox too, but obviously not as much as you…are they paying you to write this blog? It seems like every post is about dropbox…SugarSync is the same things, so is digital bucket, etc. If you respond, do it on Twitter because I’ll go read the official DropBox blog to learn more about dropbox.

  2. Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

    No, we aren’t getting paid to write about Dropbox, although we have referred a lot of people to it, which gives us a bit more storage space. You can do that, too. Go here:

    We just like it a lot, and we have this blog, where we write about things we like. We also write about things we don’t like, but not as much, because we don’t really use things we don’t like.

  3. Greta Kirkland says:

    I use dropbox to backup my files, so I am a fan. I don’t want anyone else in there, tho.

    We have an internet fax that sends me our faxes via email in pdf format, so I don’t have to scan them in. Having our faxes automatically in pdf has been a great time saver. We use myfax, but there are many different providers. I offer clients the choice of fax or email when sending me documents, and they are usually able to do one or the other.

  4. Herb Wilson says:

    Why not just have them e-mail it directly to you?I realize that with AirDropper, it will sync directly to your computer. But you still have to go find it, possibly rename it, and then drop it in the correct folder. Seems like it’s just as easy to download it directly to the correct folder.

  5. Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

    AirDropper is apparently more secure than e-mail. I sometimes use Basecamp for a secure client portal for the same reason. Steph Kimbro would point to virtual office software that is meant to do the same thing.

  6. Randall Ryder says:

    @ Jordan – thanks for reading – Dropbox is a great product. Our hope is that reading practicing lawyers talk about using it is more useful than reading the company’s actual blog.

    @ Greta – that sounds like a great workaround for the issue. I presume that AirDropper still saves some time, because you do not need to put the files into your Dropbox then. But I agree that the trade-off of allowing access to a 3rd party may not be worth it.

  7. Jeff says:

    I use drop box for my entire client doc server as well as for backups of accounting and case management software (Amicus – a love/hate relationship). I also have an iPad I carry everywhere and have access (password protected) for the server. At $200 a year for 100 GB it is incredibly cheap and useful and when with a client who wants to see an email or document I didn’t bring I can show and email to them. The single best integrated tech decision I have made. Once I have everything scanned I will be paperless and archiving files incredibly easy. Thanks for the tip Lawyerist.

  8. Lexi Camparini says:

    I’d recommend trying Evernote for storing any hard copy papers, files, faxes, etc. Scan ’em and save ’em on Evernote…it lets you search quite literally everything on the page even if it’s handwritten and has helped me to become virtually paperless.
    Also, for syncing I’m rather hesitant to use cloud sync services at all…the possibility of 2nd or 3rd parties accessing my sensitive information is just too eminent. Convenient for students perhaps with document collaboration, but even then Google Docs has sufficed my younger friends :) I use Syncables 360. I’m on the go a lot and my netbook and BlackBerry are basically an extension of my laptop at work. All files, media, email, even music are automatically sync’d (wireless) between my devices on my network.
    It’s secure and it just works…guess I’m old school but I still love just receiving documents from clients via email and having hefty files automatically sync to my netbook anyways.

  9. James Campbell says:

    I’ve got more dropbox storage than I know what to do with it. Their referral incentive rocks and it hasn’t cost me a penny.

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