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How we China Lawyer organize and Maintain our office

I just spent all night organizing my office in Shenzhen, China. A typical China lawyer's office. Literally.  It's 4 am here and I mine as well not sleep.  I just moved into a really big office that I share with another company.  We took up the back corner of the building and I have about 20 more boxes to go through.

We are pretty much a paperless except for those 20 boxes.  :)  I give everything to my assistant in manila folders with post it note instructions on where to save things or ehat steps to take.  Every staff member has an 8 divider file organizer on their desk.... (not sure what the technical term is)

In the last divider, I give them file labels and blank manila folders. This way they can write on whatever they are working on that is a work in progress.  IE: awaiting documents from client or settlement check from insurance company.  In the first divider they have a phone log as to track all calls and so they can keep a carbon copy of things.

They all have cube post it notes on their desk so they don't lose the post its.  A post it dispenser will also work.
They are only allowed one yellow pad at a time.  I told them to write down every task and cross it off when finished.  I used to go around and clean up after them and their numerous yellow pads which would drive me nuts.

We have everything in storage organizers from Walmart.  The Sterilite kind.  6 small stationary bins the 6 medium roll about plastic bins.  We put all supplies in organizers.  Small storage organizers hold binder clips, paper clips, push pins, and metal fasteners... large storage organizers hold post its, batteries, stamps, canned air, printer cartridges etc.  Each bin is labeled.

On the walls we have white boards and we use art tape as line guides.  All files are notated accordingly with pertinent info IE: Defendant's attorney, court date etc.  Then I can glance over and see the next step.

We also use a program to handle all of our short sales since we do a lot of real estate.  It reminds the staff of the next step etc.  It also helps when one person is out and another person has to handle the files.  This way the person can jump in where the other person left off. We calendar follow ups on all leads and I have a person specifically set up to follow up on all leads.  The folder has my notes on past conversations that I had with the prospective client. I also have tickler files for all leads as well.

We use google calendar right now and google contacts, but I will probably be changing to a CRM program called Infusionsoft when I come back in September from my vacation.  I will have 1 to 2 people dedicated to input my contacts and will have someone else to supervise.  That person will also be chained to my desk all day so they can ask me how to categorize a questionable contact.  All contacts are categorized and notes are made in each contact.

We use categories like where did the lead come from.  Which Attorneys address book did the lead come from, are they a bankruptcy, PI, from our website, AVVO etc lead.

We have a business card scanner and use it accordingly then throw the card away once scanned and categorized. I am like the NSA when it comes to info...my marketing teacher taught me well.

We ask all clients to recommend us on all of our websites.  We have a template of the entire list.

For expenses we have a clipboard for stamps and it has several sheets on it so that you can write down the matter, date, postage amount what was sent to whom etc.  We also have the same concept for mileage log in the car and one at the office and also wiznet efiling costs.   When the sheets are full I give it to my assistant to reconcile.

Each case has folders.  Hard file has folders.  I only file what is printed and what the client gave to us.  The computer file is also the same.  We start from a template file and make copies as new clients pop up.  We put all costs on a spreadsheet.  This is where my assistant can input stamps and efiling costs.  We use online backup to two companies.  After the file is done I make the client sign for it and take it back.  I will keep items such as settlement agreements and stipulations, affidavits, etc.  that I deem important.

We have binders for other info such as document codes, how tos, and sample pleadings.  We also have one on the computer.  We used to have how to videos but I have been lazy to update our youtube channel.

I email staff items to do regularly.  I have to get it out of my head. They star items if they are important and must do later.  Then star it a different color if they are awaiting something.  They also archive the message when done.  They use labels as well.

We scan everything important in then file it in the hard file.

I have two virtual assistants that file and save things for me.  They can also draft letters for me, copy discovery, retype it, do data entry and real estate contracts.  They work when I am asleep then notify me via email when things are done so I can review.  They are a god send and I want to hire a few more when I get back.  People are amazed when they see us working at 2 or 3 in the morning.  Lol.

My staff is trained to email me on everything and email me to confirm they have received something or done a task....

We use ringcentral and the app is pretty cool as I can dial from my cell when out.  I can also get texts and faxes...it has a conference call feature and can ring me simultaneously as my office staff.

My assistant does all my bookkeeping and enters it into excel spreadsheets and files receipts for me.

I believe in being as techy as possible with everyone getting two monitors.  We are changing from laptops to desktops soon.  If it saves time I will buy it whether it be faster internet to some gadget....

We have a ongoing file of all marketing ideas from newsletter ideas to mailers, to Christmas cards.  I am going to hire someone to implement these ideas one day....

Closing files have checklists as to what documents need to be included and whether or not we have those items.  These checklists are in a binder

I will post as more ideas pop into my head, but for now I am signing off.

 
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China Lawyer BLog AuthorPeter Zhu, an experienced China attorney licensed to practice law for more than ten years, the author of this China Lawyer blog, welcomes any enquiry or consultation related to Chinese law.