Effective Strategies for File and Case ManagementThe Paralegal Resource
November 5, 2013 — 2,865 views
It is common knowledge that a proper case management system can transform even the most disorganized of law firms. As a paralegal or legal assistant, the tumultuous task of organizing files and cases falls on your hands and it is up to you to turn the entire firm around. The good news is that if you know how to organize the documents the right way, you won't have to struggle too much. Experienced paralegals believe that successfully organizing documents and cases is all about using a subject-neutral approach. Here are a few tips to help you successfully manage files and cases in your firm:
- Identifying Key Planning Elements – Even before you begin the process of file and case management, it is important that you identify the three critical planning elements. First, create a plan for assembling and categorizing documents according to their source of origin. Next, consider creating and maintaining a uniform computer database that allows search option. After this, you will also need to think about getting working copies made and then keep them separate from the original copies.
- Ease of Access – Many legal assistants and paralegals tend to make their file organization method too complicated for their own good. If you focus too much on the subject matter of the case documents, you may end up getting lost in the mountain of other case files that are yet to be organized. What you need to remember is that attorneys simply want to find the document they need. This means that you should focus on making sure that every file is easily accessible for the concerned individuals.
- Translations – If your firm deals with international clients, translation can be a huge issue facing your file management system. The key is to identify the number of languages involved in the documents as well as the number of documents. Separate all the documents that require translation and look for a third-party that offers reliable translation services.
- Consider Using Computer-Based Management Systems – One of the main benefits of technology for a paralegal is that it offers simple, quick, and effective ways to organize your firm's files and cases. If you aren't already using software to help you with case management, you would be pleasantly surprised at how much easier your job can get. Even when it comes to getting updates on a case, you can find out the information within minutes.
File management softwares also ensure that there are minimal mistakes in your filing and document management system. Moreover, you can even get a software that offers encryption protection. This means that you will require a password or employee ID to gain access to the software and the information stored inside. This allows you to maintain confidentiality as much as possible.
The common misconception about legal case and file management is that you need to use only one way to correctly manage a universe of large documents. This is not always true and you will be able to find a series of effective strategies to manage the cases in your firm. It's important that you keep your eyes open for the latest software programs to help your firm in maintaining a well-organized case management system.