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Organizing Your Legal Binder: Expert Tips for Attorneys, Paralegals & Law Students

organizing a legal binder

A well-organized three-ring binder is a lifeline for many businesses, but none more so than in a legal office.

Your binders reflect who you are as a business, which is why it shouldn’t be an unorganized, unreliable mess, but rather a professional-looking, well-organized and reliable resource. This is especially the case when someone’s rights, freedom or life hangs in the balance.

You and your team must have immediate access to the information you desire right when you need it. This can be achieved by keeping organized legal binders.

Sections in Your Legal Binders

To begin this organizational process, you should separate your legal papers into these piles:

  • Correspondence. Don’t worry about specific dates during the initial stages, but make sure to organize into groups by name (or address). Later, you can arrange them by date in chronological order.
  • Pleadings. These are easily identified by court stamps. Make sure that all pages are included for each pleading (check for page numbers and signatures). Arrange these in chronological order as well. Once they’re in order, you’ll want to prepare a pleading board, or a table of contents, for the pleadings.

Here’s how your pleading board should look:

  • Complaint…………………………………………..………….April 1, 2017
  • Answers to Complaint………………………………….July 16, 2017

Follow this example in chronological order until each piece is listed.

  • Motions. While some people file these alongside pleadings, it can be important to separate them in case an attorney needs to argue a motion in court. Organizing the motions pile will include grouping all correspondence involved with each motion into its own pile. Each motion’s papers should be in their own folder.
  • Discovery. These document should be organized similarly to motions but will need to be further broken down due to the size of the response files. These large files include medical records, doctors’ notes, auto accident records, etc. You may want to include a folder for the actual response, and then all of the corresponding records behind that.
  • Miscellaneous. This can include anything from attorneys’ notes to deposition transcripts to retainer agreements.

Assembling Your Legal Binders

Now that everything is organized, it’s ready to be put into the binder. Make sure that everything gets hole-punched and that you have all of the binder pocket folders you need.

Using the above categories, purchasing index tab dividers would be helpful. Strong, clearly-written tabs for each divider can help in quickly locating information. For even better visual organization, consider colored index tabs. Dividers with pockets could provide both additional storage and a place for quickly storing new paperwork before filing it.

Just as important as organizing your files is the binder in which you house your information. You need a binder that exhibits the same quality and professionalism as your firm.

At Binders, Inc. we have a wide variety of products and services to help you achieve the professional look you need. Contact us today to get a quote or start your order.