There are more than 1.3 million attorneys currently practicing in the United States.
If you’re a lawyer yourself, or you just work for one, it’s important to stay organized. You often need to be able to find contracts or other paperwork in a pinch.
So, how do you create a system for your legal files that works? Luckily, we can help you out. Keep reading for everything you need to know about how to organize legal files.
Have a Good Physical Legal Filing System
You’ll need to know how to file physical paperwork when you’re in the legal profession. A lot of paper comes up. So, you’ll need a filing system that’s organized and that you understand.
You’ll likely be filing your documents by case. But, within that case, you’ll need a sub-organization system. Some people choose to sort their documents by date. Others choose to organize their files alphabetically.
There are no wrong answers – it’s all about what makes sense for you and what will make it easiest for you to find legal documents when you need them.
These legal exhibit tabs are helpful if you need to stay perfectly organized. They’re especially useful when you’re heading to court and you need to find different documents as quickly as possible. You won’t even have to flip through the different files to find the ones you need.
Go Paperless (When Possible)
Ideally, you should take as much of your filing as possible online. That way, you’ll be able to find your legal documents wherever you are and work while you’re on the go.
The easiest way to achieve this is to convert your legal documents to PDFs. PDFs work with most programs and on most devices.
You can also scan older documents or things that need to be signed by hand so that they’ll still be in your system. You can also use file management software to ensure that everything is properly organized.
But, you still need to note where you’re keeping the physical versions of your files. You might need them in the future – even if you don’t, you need to keep them safe.
Of course, there are lots of situations where it may not be safe to upload your legal files to the cloud. Or, your client might just prefer paper files. That’s why it’s always best to embrace a hybrid system for your legal files.
There are safety measures you can take to protect your digital legal files. Use digital watermarks to your advantage. Lock down your files with passwords.
And, you still need to keep your digital files properly organized. When you’re choosing names for files, ensure that you have a standard naming convention.
How to Organize Legal Files: Start Today
With these tips, you’ll be able to organize legal files with ease. So, sit down and start putting your organization together ASAP.
Do you need more help getting organized? Scroll through some of our other helpful advice articles.