An organized office functions more efficiently, gets things done in less time and enjoys greater profitability. After all, you cannot ethically include time spent looking for a file buried underneath a pile of desktop detritus among your billable hours. The same is true for redoing work that got lost in a sea of clutter. Poor organization can also result in misfiled documents and blown deadlines, as well as a host of malfeasances that could be construed as malpractice.
With that in mind, here’s how to get your legal practice organized.
Legal workflow automation software can automate the processing of legal requests, keep business and approval teams on the same page and help you keep track of how your team is performing. It can help you isolate and eliminate bottlenecks in your processes and automate low-value repetitive tasks so your people can focus on their caseloads. The best legal workflow automation software can also automate your onboarding processes, compliance workstreams and privacy workstreams, along with many other high-volume request workstreams.
An old saying proclaims a cluttered desk to be a sign of a cluttered mind. There is a lot of truth to this statement. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to function in an organized fashion when you’re submerged in an ocean of clutter. If this malady has already infected your practice, begin with one section of the office, and work your way through the entire place, purging everything that isn’t germane to the tasks at hand.
The key to being successful here is to vow to only touch everything you pick up once. You’ll either file it or destroy it. Closed files should be stored away, not kept out in the open. This makes it easier to locate the files you need for current work.
Institute Procedural Processes
The best way to avoid future accumulations is to establish a standard set of procedures for the office once you’ve decluttered. The goal is to promote consistency and clarity in the office. While the procedures you craft will vary from office to office, the overriding goal should be the same regardless of the nature of your practice — strict organization.
Establish a Universal Filing Protocol
A law firm can be made or broken by its filing system. Having a logical system of organization for your files is absolutely key to efficient operations. The system you implement should prioritize ease of use along with security and confidentiality. It should apply to all files, regardless of type, to establish continuity. This will make it easier to train new hires as well as reduce the amount of time people spend searching for documents.
Optimize Your Office Layout
The functionality of the space within which you work has a decided effect on your efficiency. Furniture choices should be based first upon functionality, then aesthetics. Opting for vertical storage units will consume less space. Bear in mind you’ll need closed as well as open storage to ease access while maintaining security. Consider the nature of your workflows when placing furniture with an eye toward operational efficiency over appearance.
These tips for getting your legal practice organized can help you produce more work with less stress. Getting organized and remaining so might seem like an insurmountable task if things have already escalated to the point at which you’re struggling to keep track of things. However, taken on a step-by-step basis as outlined here, the process will be much easier to complete, and your efforts will be easier to maintain.