Organizing Legal Files
Interesting how a former career path comes into play in the field professional organizing. Prior to launching ClutterBGone I worked in the field of law for over 20 years. It was in that industry that I learned a great deal about time management, file management, the importance of detail and the ultimate management and organization of legal files in general. I recently had a client contact me looking for assistance and ideas on file management. Specifically, this gentleman wore many hats, one of which was that of a consumer advocate providing legal representation to clients. However, without a specific legal administration background he found himself inundated with legal paper, pleadings and stacks of files with little organization and the inability to put his hand on key documents when needed. His office was in a state of disarray and he desperately needed help from an organizer with a legal background. A general overview of the organization of legal files in general will be helpful to many.
When organizing legal files one of the most critical elements for organization is to create one file with numerous subfiles. For litigation files, which is the type of law this client practiced, the files would generally be broken down as follows
Pleadings (such as Statements of Claim, Defence, Reply, etc.)
Affidavit Materials & Evidence
Motions & Orders
Affidavit of Documents
In many cases, pleadings and affidavit materials can be so thick, and files become so large that file boxes are used and clearly labelled with the client name and the contents of each box. There may be an entire box or more of just case law! And of course, each case must be itemized and filed for quick access and return in the proper place. The same goes for affidavit evidence and materials.
The key with legal file organization, as with most organizing projects, is sorting, categorizing and clearly labelling all materials. I hope that in your personal lives you never have to organize a legal file (although many of my clients have family law files to sort through and organize). But if you ever do, this general guideline should assist you in making sense of all that paper. If you have any questions on how to organize other types of legal files, just let me know. I`m here to help.