Setting Up an Effective Filing System

I’m a member of Slideshare, a site where users “share what they know and love through presentations, infographics, documents and more.”

As a Slideshare contributor, I receive weekly analytics.  With over 9,000 views to date, my most popular document by a long shot is Setting Up an Effective Filing Systemslideshare

This article first appeared in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin in June 2000.  At a time when practitioners feel compelled to go digital and store data in the cloud, why would an article addressing organization of paper files remain in high demand?  It must be that many still prefer tangible documents and folders.

If you are a legal professional who likes paper, but struggles with how to organize files, here is an up-to-date redeux of an oldie, but a goodie:

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis

Organizing Paper Files

Why am I writing about how to organize your paper files when going “paperless” is all the rage?  Because 6,269 views of Setting Up an Effective Filing System tells me there is still a demand for information on this subject.

I uploaded Setting Up an Effective Filing System to Slideshare three years ago.  The article first appeared in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin in June 2000.  Learning how to organize paper files remains a popular topic because most firms continue to operate hybrid systems.  For some, the paperless part of the practice consists solely of word processing documents and e-mails saved in client folders on the network or computer.  For others, going paperless occurs at the end of the life cycle when the file is closed, contents are scanned, and the paper file shredded or given to the client.  In either case, the active, working file continues to be paper-based.  I am happy to share tips on paper file management because I strongly believe that well-organized paper files lead to well-organized computer files.

Setting Up an Effective Filing System addresses the following topics:

  • Alpha vs. Numeric Filing Systems
  • File Media – Folders vs. Binders
  • How to use Color Coding
  • The Connection Between Files and Client Relations

It also provides examples of how to organize file materials in three practice areas: Corporate, Personal Injury, and Domestic Relations.  The complete article can be downloaded here.

For those who were expecting a follow-up post on how to create Actions in Acrobat, my apologies.  I promise to get there, but was motivated to publish this first as I continue to receive requests for copies of my filing system article.

Copyright Beverly Michaelis 2012