How to Successfully Organize Your Legal Files

Organizing your files is important for running a successful operation. But where do you begin? Analyze what you have, create a naming system for your files, consider a cloud-based platform, and start fresh.

Analyze what you have.

Do a general sweep to determine your files: PDF, word, and video. What are the general topics relating to these files? There is no magic number of categories to file things; more is presumably better, but it can become cumbersome depending on your repository system. If you have paper files, the same organizing applies; however, do you have a game plan to digitize your paper files? If you don’t, you’re putting your team at risk of losing files and making retrieval less accessible. Whether you go digital or not, your physical system should still match the categories of your digital; otherwise, you’re working in two different worlds.

File naming system.

Have consistent firm practices when naming files, especially when collaborating with others. Everyone has the most straightforward system for them, but it doesn’t always translate to the rest of the team. For example, if you have a file with an important date, do you title it “January_5_2023_Name” or “1-5-23_Name,” what happens if you’re working with people outside of the US? You’ve selected the wrong file for the day, month, and year. What happens when someone searches for January, but the input is number one? Questions like these can be avoided with a simple brand guideline. When making that guideline, consider these formatting questions. What comes first, first name or last name? Does the company name come first or last? What’s your date format? Should files have a project name, task name, or both? Do you have a color labeling system for specific file types? Creating a quick checklist that your team shares ensure efficiency and best business practices.

Consider a cloud-based platform.

Having a cloud-based platform as your filing cabinet can save you time, money, and effort. For starters, when working with a team, you want to collaborate without technology or locations hindering workflow. A contract lifecycle management system can allow lawyers to assign team members straightforward tasks toward a larger team goal. It can also happen offline; however, the benefit of a cloud-based system is that you can track where your coworkers are in the pipeline or are notified when your task is next. You also save money with CLMs. Legal teams are more likely to save time and money with a CLM due to disorganization, lost files, and costly human error. The World Commerce & Contracting Association (formerly IACCM) has found that poor contract management costs companies about 9% of their bottom line each year. Finally, no one likes getting 50 email threads from coworkers and reading through threads to figure out, “Does this apply to me?” With a CLM, you can assign tickets, assign comments, and reports so that you only receive emails or notifications that pertain to you. Assigning, on its own, is a compelling reason to consider a CLM; it increases work productivity, so employees are only involved where they are needed.

How Bigfork uses CLMs.

We use ALOE as our contract lifecycle management and project management software because it’s secure and has a repository, automated workflows, and task types/categories. It can be fully customized or adapted to whatever we need. Bigfork prides itself on using the same platform as its customers because we are constantly investing in improving our CLM. When selecting a CLM, adaptability is an essential element to look at in a continually evolving world. Thirty years ago, there was no prioritization for terabytes of storage, but now digital repository has become extremely important for many employees. If your CLM provider does not meet the market’s needs, you may fall behind. ALOE is a secure cloud-based platform that allows our team to work from anywhere, anytime, and lures in the best talent worldwide.

Analyzing your current organizational system can be taxing but ultimately lead to a more efficient workplace. Consider a customizable CLM system that will allow you to take your organization to the next step and avoid being disorganized again. You will save time, money, and effort and overall make your workplace more enjoyable for employees. Employees should spend most of their time doing their part to help grow revenue, not searching for files, sending emails back and forth, and stressing about where files went. Going paperless gives your team flexibility, makes collaboration more manageable, and makes retrieval much faster.

Why should you sign up for an ALOE demo?

Our fully customizable intake forms. You can’t solve legal intake with excel sheets and online forms, you need them to work for you and with you. This means intake forms customized to your department’s pain points and needs. Our implementation team is in-house which means we are fast and efficient, and you won’t have to deal with third-party confusion.

ALOE has improved the system by providing integrations, user flexibility, automating routine requests, internal and external approvals, and more. There’s no need for multiple apps and downloads when everything is in one place. If you are interested in getting a demo for our fully-customizable version of ALOE sign up for a meeting and ask about any current offers we have.

To get our full breakdown of the 8 Benefits of Contract Lifecycle Management Technology or check out some of our other resources you can download our free guide here.

how to successfully organize your legal files