In order to maintain a productive and profitable law practice, you need to be organized. A lack of organization can mean that you and your staff won’t be able to work as efficiently and this will cost you time which eventually cost you more money. You also risk jeopardizing the success of your clients’ cases due to lack of organization. Being disorganized will lead to documents being misfiled, missed deadlines, scheduling conflicts and even some potential malpractice situations that can cost you your reputation in the legal industry. Staying organized is not easy though or everyone would do it. Here are a few tips that can help you keep your firm on track and organized. 

De-Clutter First

You can take the first step to be organized by first decluttering your space. Keep paperwork, court documents and forms in file folders an organized in draws or boxes. Label paperwork in groups and file them in easily accessible place. Begin with one section of your office at a time and then work through each area. It is important to finish one area before moving on to the next so that you can see the difference your efforts are making and feel some success with your organizational efforts. 

Get Rid of Items and Purge

If you can scan documents, then shred the physical copy. Unless you need to keep documents with notarized signatures, seals or stamps. Otherwise, try to scan everything else. You can then store these documents on a secure online storage system. Also, make sure you store or scan closed case paperwork. Only keep active and open case paperwork handy in your office.

Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)

If you have hired assistants or staff, then you should document the file organization system that is used in your practice. List what needs to be filed and where and under what folders. Having a standard operation procedures (SOP) document allows you to easily train new hires to your law firm which will save you a lot of time.

Use online tools to simplify your work

You should take advantage of tools to manage client communication and to gather information for cases. You should also look into using online billing systems like Law Pay and an appointment scheduler such as Calendarly. These tools are affordable and can help you automate your caseload.

Document or write things down.

It sounds simple, but many attorneys don’t do this enough. Just relying on your memory is not enough. You can write out your thoughts in a notepad or you can use an online note taking tool for easy access. If you are a mac user the newly revamped mac notes works great, if windows, One Note is a great tool. 

Make to-do Lists. 

Each day, you should make a list of all your tasks. You can write them down in your calendar, or you can use an online task management system. It’s a good idea to do this at the beginning of each week to make a high level list of to-do items. Then each day you can prioritize them or change them. The key thing with todo lists is a daily cadence of using them. Set aside time and force yourself to look at your todo list at the same time for 30 days to build up the habit of using it. 

Create a schedule with due dates

Once you have your tasks for the week, assign due dates to them. No dates means tasks can sit forever. If you miss a due date, dont’ just change it, make sure you note the original date so you can see clearly that you missed your date. These can also be added to your calendar. A good practice management tool can help you organize your calendar and to-do items for the week or the entire month.

Schedule everything on your calendar.

There are very convenient calendar scheduling tools that allow you to send a link to clients for interviews and phone calls. They can then view your available times and schedule. You’ll get an email and they will as well. Your calendar will also sync. This is a great way to start automating your practice.

Use automation.

Instead of emailing your client back and forth, use a client portal. A good law practice management tool can help you keep client communication in one central location. It will also let clients have an easy to use online tool to send you documents and intake information.

When you are just starting out or if you are a small law firm, being organized will help you save time so that you can focus on getting more clients and therefore bring in more revenue.

Sync Your Devices

Another good thing to do is to keep your devices and software tools synced and accessible through your mobile devices. This will help you even while inside of the court room. If you are on the road, having your client contact information synced to your phone or easily reachible through your mobile device can help you quickly get in touch if you need more information.

Now that you have read through the different ways you can get organized in your legal practice it’s time to implement. It might feel overwhelming at first. It doesn’t have to be. Start with a few areas of your office that you can work on a little bit at a time. Schedule out some time in your calendar to do this. Once you have organized a specific area of your business or office, you’ll be more motivated to complete the additional improvements. Make organizing your office a project and give yourself some small milestones to complete your tasks. You will thank yourself when you look back at your efforts and enjoy your productivity. 

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