Paralegal Preparation: The Top 5 Organizational Tips for Paralegals

17th Jun 2021

Paralegal Preparation: The Top 5 Organizational Tips for Paralegals

Paralegals are the driving force within law firms and are typically accustomed to trial preparation tasks. Check out our guide for the top organizational tips.

Paralegals are a vital force of any law firm. They aid lawyers in many aspects that help with the running of the law firm.

In 2020, the paralegal workforce reached 294,138 in the United States.

Paralegals interview clients and keep in contact with them. They perform legal research, interview witnesses, and also draft legal documents. Paralegals are also in charge of clerical duties and help with trial preparation.

As you can see, paralegals have a great deal of responsibility. The key to being an effective paralegal is organization. It's needed to keep track of appointments, court dates, and meet deadlines.

Organization skills can grow and evolve. These skills are vital to doing your job well.

In this article, we'll go over the top 5 organizational tips for a paralegal.

1. Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro Method is a tool that may help with productivity. It's a time-management philosophy that's supposed to help keep you free from stress.

The idea is to choose a task and then set a 25-minute timer. You want to work until the timer goes off. Work without interruption in those 25 minutes.

Take a 5-minute break once the timer goes off. Then keep repeating this cycle. Take a 15 to 30-minute break every four Pomodoro cycles. Four Pomodoro cycles are 100 minutes of work time.

You'll want to try to plan how many cycles you need to complete a task ahead of time.

The reason for this is to break up larger tasks and make them into smaller ones. Breaks throughout the day help with focus and efficiency.

This method may not work for everyone. Some can't or don't like to stop in the middle of a task. There may be a different time frame that will work better for you. The goal is to take regular breaks after a certain time frame.

2. Make Lists

Making a list is essential for a busy paralegal. It will keep your day organized and you'll be able to see what you need to do that day.

You can make a list on your phone or written on paper. Whatever works best and makes things easier for you.

When making the list, make sure you write which ones need attention first. You can do this by numbering them in order of importance or you can highlight the priorities.

Once you've completed an item on the list, check it off. It feels good to get something done.

Whatever tasks you're asked to do throughout the day, make sure you add them to the list. Doing this will also help you plan every hour of your day.

Lists help you think about the task at hand and not everything you have to do during the day. They're an important tool for any paralegal. Whatever you do, don't get caught at the end of a deadline with a forgotten task.

3. File Documents Now

Filing documents as soon as possible is vital in organizational skills. You never want to let papers pile up. That's how they get damaged or lost.

The information needs to stay confidential and secure. The best place for doing that is in the client's file.

Legal document organization is vital to any case. You don't want to lose an important document.

Putting papers in the client's file isn't enough. You must make sure it's placed in the appropriate place in the file. If that's done, then anyone can open the file and find the document in a quick manner.

The attorney may open the file looking for the Discovery information and it's not there. Looking for that information takes up valuable time that neither of you has.

Make sure you're vigilant about filing and maintaining the client's file. Whether it's on paper or electronic, it's important to keep it updated and organized. Have all files labeled with the correct information.

4. Say No to a Cluttered Desk

What does your desk look like? Is it cluttered with all sorts of papers? Or is it neat and tidy?

A neat and tidy desk is key to organization. A chaotic desk can lead to chaotic work. You want to find documents when needed, but it may be hard if your desk's covered in things.

A messy desk can lead to unproductivity. As a paralegal, being productive is important. Are you able to be functional or do you spend a lot of time moving things out of your way?

If you have a cluttered desk, then add to your to-do list that time's needed to organize it.

Working at a cluttered desk makes a person more stressed. They say your environment is a reflection of your mind. Keep it neat, tidy, and organized. Then you'll be ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

5. Keep a Calendar

As a paralegal, it's integral to keep a calendar. It can be paper or electronic. It's sometimes good to use both. The calendar should be within your view.

In the morning, the first thing you should do is look at the calendar. This will plan your day and help with your to-do list.

The whole day needs to be on the calendar. All appointments, trial prep, or deadlines you may have. Check and update it throughout the day.

Law firms have to be on a tight schedule and need the day organized and planned. It wouldn't be good to miss a court appearance because it wasn't on the calendar.

At the end of the day, make sure to recheck the calendar. Keeping a calendar will keep all your work organized.

Paralegals Meet Goals With Organization

Paralegals do so much throughout the workday; it's important to stay organized.

Researching, filing, and keeping track of trial exhibits can be difficult. But, keeping a list and a calendar will help.

To keep up with your trial exhibits, allow the experts at Exhibition Indexes to step in. They'll help you get organized and always put your best foot forward.