Recordkeeping Techniques for ParalegalsThe Paralegal Resource
May 17, 2013 — 1,225 views
Recordkeeping is one of the main duties of a paralegal professional. Every organization needs a written record of information, which is needed to formulate important decision-making processes. The records can be financial records, administrative records, minutes of meetings, and policies. The records may include details of expenses, cash flow, bank returns, and other legal documents.
Need for Recordkeeping
It is necessary for paralegals to be accountable for and answerable to their beneficiaries at any given point of time. The records will help to identify clients and will also help to determine if a conflict of interest exists in client dealings. They should be able to meet the statutory obligations while filing these records on time. For this, it is necessary that they follow a well planned recordkeeping method. By maintaining these records you will be able to make sound decisions regarding your processes. Recordkeeping will also help reduce the occurrence of blue sky issues, which are fraudulent activities related to stocks and shares.
Paralegals can follow many methods for recordkeeping. The method which is followed will be influenced by the overall interests of the law office. There are pros and cons to every method, and it is necessary that whichever method you choose, you should use it to its maximum possible potential.
Manual recordkeeping is a basic way of storing your information and keeping it up-to-date. Manual recordkeeping will be adequate as long as the records are accurate and they can be understood properly if they are questioned. You can maintain records in pre-formatted record books, which are available at all stores.
If you are keeping record of financial transactions, you can use ledger sheets, which are sheets of paper divided into rows and columns. If you want to maintain a permanent record of the capital stocks and shares you can use a stock ledger which lists the names and addresses of the stock holder, the number of shares owned, and other such information.
If you prepare any records manually, they should be prepared using ink or pencil in a draft form, and then later photocopied. The record can be filed alphabetically, geographically, or numerically. This is a low-cost method which can be used easily. But this method requires you to consolidate or tally up all the data on your own.
There are many software programs that are proven to be helpful in recordkeeping. Such software can be run on any system which has an internet connection. The computer is much more accurate in keeping a detailed record of your data. You can use programs like spreadsheet software, legal accounting software, and general accounting software.
It doesn’t matter how good the software you choose is, you should always see to it that the client files which are made use of in the program are backed up perfectly. This is important to prevent the loss of sensitive client information, in case your system crashes while running the software. You can store a printed version of your records to avoid loss of data due to problems like software update, computer crashes, and data corruption. This is also an expensive option when compared to manual recordkeeping methods.