5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR ATTORNEYS – Pt 4

OK, we are getting everything into shape.  But how will you keep up the good work?  The paper just keeps coming.  It’s doable, here’s one tip for the paper you are done with – but cannot throw away:

TIP#4 Drop the all or nothing approach for filing REFERENCE paper.  Information, and now even work, can become obsolete a matter of months, weeks, or even days.  You do not need perfect files.  Reference paper simply needs to be sorted and separated by matter or subject, then filed generally.  I prefer expanding file pockets , which don’t “lose paper” and loose filing within the pockets in separate manila folders.  Do you HAVE to have labels other than handwritten ones?  Unfortunately, I do!  My handwriting is terrible.  So is my eyesight.  Consider using a label maker – since I’ve started doing this it takes me a fraction of the time to locate a file.  Again, these reference pockets do not need to be perfectly organized en masse.  The point is to get all the reference paper on a subject or matter in one place and to put it away, out of sight.  Reference paper is the only paper that goes where you can’t see it, in your drawer, file drawer or hallway file system.  If you are putting reference material in a shared space such as a hallway system make sure each pocket is clearly marked with your name.

Stay tuned, we’re wrapping it up in part 5!


In addition to being AABANY’s Administrative Assistant, Margaret Langston is a Professional Organizer.  Her business, BEAUTIFUL CORNER, offers full organization services for the home or small business.  BEAUTIFUL CORNER’s goal is help simplify the lives of its clients so that they may achieve optimum organization and full productivity at home and at work. BEAUTIFUL CORNER offers onsite and virtual service.  For more information go to www.beautifulcorner.com.

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On-line Registration for Fall Conference Now Closed

We have closed on-line registration for AABANY’s Second Annual Fall Conference.  Thanks to all those who have registered.  We are expecting attendance of around 200 throughout the day.  If you missed the on-line registration cut-off please register on-site.  Note: the 42nd Street entrance of 4 Times Square is closed on the weekends.  You must enter on the 43rd Street side.

We hope to see you at the Fall Conference at Skadden on Sept 17!

Fall Conference 2011 Diversify

5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR ATTORNEYS – Pt 3

OK, we have begun to wrestle those piles into submission.  Now, lets talk about how to keep them out of the office altogether:

TIP#3  Switch from being a HORIZONTAL PAPER PILER to being a VERTICAL PAPER PILER.  Do you throw the stream of paper coming into your office in piles on your desk and floor?  Don’t get mad, I’m not picking on you.  I understand that some of you no longer have your own secretary (or, if you’re a really young attorney, maybe you never did).  It’s OK; there are ways of creating systems where paper automatically files itself.  You don’t necessarily have to double as your own file clerk.  The first step to identifying and dealing with the paper is to GET IT VERTICAL and separated.  My experience is that paper which lies down out of sightline gets ignored, is not processed and grows into anonymous, looming, oppressive mountains.  Here is the one solution I’ve come up with that seems to work for a lot of people.  Vertical file stands offer a way to instantly separate paper by case, client, etc.  Get as many of these vertical file stands as will fit on top of your heating vent (without covering the vent), the top of your file cabinet, your end tables, or the counter space on your cubicle.  Will this look busy? Yes, maybe, but you are busy.

In any case,I’d much rather see rows of these and empty floor space

in place of this: Your office last week

Now, here are two ways of categorizing ACTION paper that will help you to ACT on it and I suggest using BOTH methods.

First, create a series of files that are ACTION-RELATED.  Here are the names of those files: RESPOND TODAY, RESPOND this WEEK, RESPOND this month.  This could be further broken down into 1) making calls and 2) send an email regarding – but you might just want to stay simple and use the previous 3 general action headings.  These three folders provide and instant tickler system and instigate a daily routine.  You only have to deal with one folder at a time and the one which gets first priority is TODAY.  As you act on the items in your TODAY folder, shift paper from the WEEK folder to the TODAY folder and from the MONTH folder to the WEEK folder.

The second series of action related files will not be so urgent as the ACTION files – but still stuff you need to get to and which you need to see.  The names of those files will be either by client, matter or subject, or all of the above.  In part 4, I’ll tell you what to do with reference paper


In addition to being AABANY’s Administrative Assistant, Margaret Langston is a Professional Organizer.  Her business, BEAUTIFUL CORNER, offers full organization services for the home or small business.  BEAUTIFUL CORNER’s goal is help simplify the lives of its clients so that they may achieve optimum organization and full productivity at home and at work. BEAUTIFUL CORNER offers onsite and virtual service.  For more information go to www.beautifulcorner.com.

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5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR ATTORNEYS – Pt 2

In part 1 we started to address those ominous paper towers in your office.  Now we are going to the front line – prepare yourself!

TIP#2 Separate ACTION paper from REFERENCE paper.  This is the first and maybe the most important habit to cultivate in order to take control of paper. Even if you are still piling paper from floor to ceiling, make sure that the REFERENCE paper gets the opposite corner of the office from the ACTION paper.

Here are examples of ACTION paper:

  • invoicing that needs to go out this week
  • the marked draft you have to finish by Friday
  • any memos that need immediate response

Here are examples of REFERENCE paper

  • supporting documents on a matter that you may need access to but not this week, or maybe even this month
  • research on a particular matter that you need to read but maybe not this week or this month

You get the idea, right? I bet you can think of several other categories for ACTION or REFERENCE.  Stay tuned for part 3 and I’ll tell you what to do with the ACTION paper.


In addition to being AABANY’s Administrative Assistant, Margaret Langston is a Professional Organizer.  Her business, BEAUTIFUL CORNER, offers full organization services for the home or small business.  BEAUTIFUL CORNER’s goal is help simplify the lives of its clients so that they may achieve optimum organization and full productivity at home and at work. BEAUTIFUL CORNER offers onsite and virtual service.  For more information go to www.beautifulcorner.com.

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How to win a BlackBerry PlayBook: the Rules

Thanks to our Fall Conference sponsor, Sprint, we will be giving away a BlackBerry Playbook tablet PC to one lucky winner from a random drawing that we will conduct after the conclusion of the Fall Conference.  How can you enter the drawing for your chance at winning this great prize?  We offer you four simple ways: Twitter, WE Blog @ AABANY, completing the AABANY Get Connected Survey, signing up to be a Mentor in the AABANY Mentorship Program.

Twitter

  1. Follow @aabany on Twitter.
  2. Tweet about being at the Fall Conference.  Don’t just say “hello” or “I’m here.” Say something substantive, like your reaction to a program or what a panelist has said, all in 140 characters or less.
  3. Re-tweet any tweets you see about the Fall Conference.
  4. Be sure to mention @aabany in the tweet and use the hash tag #FallConf so that we can locate your tweets quickly.
  5. Send as many tweets as you like, but again they should be substantive or we won’t count them.
  6. Any tweets sent after 5:30 pm will not be counted.

WE Blog @ AABANY

  1. Go to WE Blog @ AABANY. The address is http://blog.aabany.org.
  2. Look for any blog posts that day (Sept 17) related to the Fall Conference.
  3. Enter a substantive comment in response to the post. Just as with tweets, just saying “hello” or “I’m here” will not count.
  4. You cannot enter comments in reply to your own comment.
  5. You can reply to someone else’s comment but it must relate to that comment.
  6. Any comments posted after 5:30 pm will not be counted.

AABANY Get Connected Survey

  1. Fill out the AABANY Get Connected Survey at the conference.
  2. After doing so, present your business card to one of our volunteers and we will enter it into the drawing.  If you don’t have a business card, we will have your name written on a blank card and enter you in the drawing that way.
  3. You can enter only once using this method.

AABANY Mentorship Program

  1. Apply to be a Mentor in the AABANY Mentorship Program at the conference.
  2. After doing so, present your business card to one of our volunteers and we will enter it into the drawing.  If you don’t have a business card, we will have your name written on a blank card and enter you in the drawing that way.
  3. You can enter only once using this method.

Additional Rules

  1. You can use one or more of the above methods to enter yourself in the drawing, except as otherwise stipulated below.
  2. Subject to the above rules, you can be entered multiple times via Twitter and WE Blog @ AABANY.
  3. You can be entered only once each by applying as a Mentor or completing the survey.
  4. If you are already signed up as a Mentor or you have already completed the survey you cannot use those methods to enter the drawing.
  5. This contest is open to everyone attending the Fall Conference but excludes any AABANY Board Members or members of the Fall Conference Planning Committee.

You can enter the drawing at the Fall Conference by signing in with your Twitter username and email address.

BlackBerry Playbook: You like?

BlackBerry Playbook: You like?

5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR ATTORNEYS (and everyone else)

In my 25+ years of experience as a legal secretary I saw a lot of paper.  .  Guess what?  Now that I work as a Professional Organizer I know that attorneys are NOT alone – all my clients have problems with paper.

My guess is that all the paper I’ve handled in all the various firms I’ve worked for would be enough to extend Battery Park – but perhaps I’m overstating the case.  I’ve also come to believe that paper left unattended too long tends to procreate.

In any event, there are several things I’ve noticed when working with attorneys and I’ve come up with a few minor tweaks that you can incorporate your routine for handling paper that might bring some instant order:

TIP #1  Have all personal mail sent home – not to the office.  This includes bills, subscriptions that are not work-related (and that you can’t deduct off your taxes) and catalogs.  A lot of incoming personal mail is marketing related and generated by making online purchases from work – and then using your work address as a shipping address.  Billing, subscriptions and other catalogs that are work-related should be immediately separate from any in-house work-related paper.  Here’s a GREAT little video and extensive list of organizations to cut down the junk mail (the soundtrack is a little kitschy but the list is really useful).

Stay tuned for more tips!


In addition to being AABANY’s Administrative Assistant, Margaret Langston is a Professional Organizer.  Her business, BEAUTIFUL CORNER, offers full organization services for the home or small business.  BEAUTIFUL CORNER’s goal is help simplify the lives of its clients so that they may achieve optimum organization and full productivity at home and at work. BEAUTIFUL CORNER offers onsite and virtual service.  For more information go to www.beautifulcorner.com.

Beautiful Corner logo

Epoch Times (9/8/11) Reports on Redistricting Hearing in Queens

Epoch Times (9/8/11) Reports on Redistricting Hearing in Queens

Press Release: Joint Minority Bar Judicial Screening Panel

Press Release: Joint Minority Bar Judicial Screening Panel