Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Effective File Management System

File information is generally worthless unless it is organized and available to the attorneys, legal secretaries and legal assistants who use it on demand. File management is a large task no matter the size of the law practice. A file that is a disorganized mess can be useless in a law office.

In today’s world there is a challenge in keeping track of papers, files and just getting and staying organized. Being disorganized causes less productivity.

One of the main reasons I am called to perform an assessment is normally they are frustrated because they can't find things, wasting valuable billable hours looking for it. Somehow, documents or papers get lost in a black hole somewhere, it turns up later in the most bizarre place or wrong file and they need a "system" set up.
All types of law offices need a file system that allows them to store, track and retrieve information about cases in a logical, efficient and expeditious manner. The outcome of many legal matters depends on the case information gathered, including evidence, depositions, pleadings, discovery requests, and witness interviews, etc.

A client could see piles in your office and think that their paperwork might get lost, or if you are really competent in handling their case.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be blogging on a series of organizational tips focusing on law offices on various topics.

An Effective File Management System

The files (hard copy and/or electronic) are complete and contain all of the information relevant to the case or matter.
Filing procedures ensure that all items are retained for the appropriate length of time.
Files are maintained so that they are accurate, sound, and reliable.
Ease of Use:
The file structure and file access provide for quick and easy location of files. Electronic file systems are readily available to all staff.
Files (hard copy and electronic) are maintained in a safe environment which prevents unauthorized access to the system as a whole or to individual files.
Ease of Learning:
The file system is candid, straightforward, and easy for others to learn.
The file system is flexible and easy to modify if structural or functional changes in the firm are necessary.

Create a "UNIVERSAL SYSTEM" where it is user-friendly with everyone that needs to access files. It needs to be kept uniform!

Upcoming post... "Various Filing Systems"

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