Bento and the Zen of Client File Management

When we opened our firm, I had no idea how to run a law office; they don’t teach that in law school. Early on, my girlfriend gave me Jay Foonberg’s How to Start & Build a Law Practice. And while some of the information in it is painfully outdated (first edition © 1976), it was a good starting point.

But I put off setting up a formal file management system. Why bother? It was easy to keep track of three files with nothing in them. After a while, it got harder. Did I send a disengagement letter for that case? When you asked for the Smith file, did you mean his divorce file or his estate plan? Is that case open or closed? What’s the next step in that case over there?

So I broke out the Foon’s book and turned to the chapter entitled “Simple Hard-Copy Filing Systems for the New Lawyer.” I like simple, and the Foon was serious about the simple part. Continue reading