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What is a PDF/A, and Why Should Law Firms Care?

By Higher Information Group | Legal

For law firms, preserving documents for long periods of time is essential. For example, a legal team needs to make sure that a client’s will signed today will work just as well in 30 years’ time. Thanks to PDF/A standard, this won’t be a problem. Users will be able to view exactly the same content (in this case a will) as when the document was created.

A PDF/A is a special kind of PDF that ensures the visual appearance of a document remains the same, regardless of what hard- or software is used.

All the information needed to display the document and its elements (think fonts, images, color information) is embedded in the file. This means the documents will remain readable even if the hard- or software used to access the documents changes.

How PDF/A is different from PDF

  • PDF/A is meant for preserving documents that can be restored when needed. A PDF can’t preserve documents.
  • PDF/A does not allow audio, video, and executable content, while PDF does.
  • PDF/A requires that graphics and fonts be embedded into the file, while PDF does not. This ensures that a user of a PDF/A does not need the same fonts that were used to create the original file installed on their computer to read the file.
  • PDF/A does not allow external content references, while PDF does.
  • PDF/A does not allow encryption, while PDF does.

The Benefits of PDF/A

As previously mentioned, PDF/A’s main draw is the long-term storage of digital information. This is especially useful for the legal industry.

Perfect Conversion
PDF/A is ISO-standardized in contrast to a PDF. It must meet certain requirements so that years from now, the look of the original file remains the same. This is especially important should a legal dispute arise. A law firm can be confident that it can rely on PDF/A documents and that they have not been altered.

You can search PDF/A documents, saving your law practice time and money.

Legally Binding
PDF/A is a great option for digitally signed documents and records. Digital signatures recorded in the PDF/A file can be enforceable by law.

PDF/A makes it easy to reuse content. The files can be easily converted to Word, HTML, or eBook formats.

Using this document preservation tool will keep your law firm’s documents safe, accessible, and easy to search. The format can also be used for scanned documents.

If your law practice needs help to make documents PDF/A compliant, Higher Information Group’s document conversion team can help.

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