Monthly Archives: February 2016


Paperless Work Flow For Law Practice

Almost every article you read about "going paperless" has the same disclaimer: paperless means less paper, not the elimination of paper all together. As lawyer, paper is a fact of life (a fact I toil to change). Switching from a paper-more law practice to a paperless law practice requires some effort and determination. It is not always easy to make the change — there will be some upfront work involved and troubleshooting as you perfect your system — but the goal is to gain long-term efficiencies. Thus, you need to take a long-term approach in implementing a paperless law practice. Before you take the plunge into going paperless, you need to lay some groundwork. In a previous post, I went over the importance of having a standardized file naming convention. You should figure out a naming convention out before you scan a single document, otherwise you (or your staff) will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to rename all your newly digitalized files. Get it right the first time. Also, when going paperless, you should start from day zero, i.e., don't try to go back and digitize all your old paper files. The exception may be to digitize active matters, but what's been done is done — we're looking forward, and don't want to waste time correcting the past. Once you have a file naming system figured out, the next step is to setup a paperless work flow for turning your paper documents into digital ones, and getting them filed where they need to be. Obviously, a document scanner is key here. Document Scanner In my office, I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap [...]

File Naming Conventions For Paperless Law Office

With more and more companies and law offices going paperless (or at least trying to — remember, it is paper-less, i.e., less paper), it is increasingly important to have a standardized file naming convention. Each type of law firm is different in the types of cases it handles, so you will need to create your file naming system accordingly. My office handles a lot of litigation matters, so I have created a file naming convention that allows me to quickly name and identify important documents that have been scanned in (or received digitally) and filed electronically. A standardized file naming convention is important, because if your documents are haphazardly named, then it makes it more difficult for you and your staff to locate a document quickly. Spending needless time searching for a document frustrates one of the main goals of a paperless filing system: efficiency. If you are looking to implement a file naming standard in your practice, I have included some of the basic structure I use that may serve as a helpful starting off point for you. Sample Folder Trees For Litigation Firm The first step is to setup the file directories for your office, and I use a system of subfolders to organize my cases. Thus, the parent folder for all my files is simply named "Client Files". Inside that folder, I have four subfolders named as follows: "_Open Files", "Closed Files", "Archive" and "Temporary". I use an underscore for Open Files because I sort my files by name, and the leading underscore ensures that my "Open Files" folder is always at the [...]

Informal Discovery Conference In Los Angeles County Superior Court

An Informal Discovery Conference, commonly abbreviated as "IDC," is an informal proceeding used by the courts to encourage resolution of disputes, particularly discovery-related disputes, prior to the filing of a motion; a forced further meet and confer, if you will. IDCs are encouraged by many courts throughout Los Angeles County. At the informal discovery conference, the judge listens to each party's position in the dispute, and provides guidance. The outcome of the informal discovery conference can be described as a "tentative-tentative" ruling on the disputed issue prior to the hearing on the motion. The parties may later bring additional argument in the formal motion that can persuade the court otherwise; however, this may be an uphill battle. In Personal Injury Courts (PI Courts) of Los Angeles County (Departments 91, 92 and 93 in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse), informal discovery conferences are required by the 5th Amended General Order prior to the hearing on a motion to compel further responses to discovery. PI Court judges are available daily to conduct a 30-minute, in person IDCs with counsel from both sides who have full authority to make binding agreements in discovery disputes. Again, there are no rulings made in PI Court IDCs. "The purpose of the IDC is to help the parties resolve discovery disputes by agreement rather than by motion practice." Prior to the IDC, the clerk may ask the parties if they would like to meet and confer again before sitting down with the judge. How To Schedule An Informal Discovery Conference Each court has its own policies and procedures with respect to the availability and scheduling [...]