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    August 2nd, 2009

    Don’t want to add more
    complications to your life
    but I’m sending this e-mail

    Lyrics and music by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, recorded by Pet Shop Boys.

    I have had several conversations lately on how to deal with email and in particular, in archiving it once a file is closed.  As a result I thought I would post the summary of my discussions in this area.

    Here is a summary of my thoughts on how to handle emails:

    I see two general ways of proceeding.

    One is to bring in a dedicated document management product such as Worldox (www.worldox.com).  It is an award-winning application, used in thousands of offices including law offices and is very well received by lawyers. It is a total electronic document management system and will handle all documents in your office including emails.

    If you don’t want to move to Worldox (and I would strongly advise any firm to seriously consider bringing in a dedicated document mangement application since the ‘file’ these days exists in electronic form), here is another solution involving Microsoft Outlook, SimplyFile (www.techhit.com), EzDetach (www.techhit.com) and Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional (not the Adobe reader: www.adobe.com).

    Continue to use Outlook for your email management – and create folders in Outlook for each of your client files.  Furthermore, create a folder and sub-folder structure on your network for each of your client files that mirrors your paper file: for example, you would create sub-folders for correspondence, pleadings, expert reports etc….

    Your emails would come into the Outlook in-box as usual. Use SimplyFile to ensure that all emails (incoming and outgoing) are then filed into the right folder in Outlook as they are received and generated. Use EZDetach to separate the attachments and to place them on the proper client’s network folder or sub-folder. EZDetach allows you to file away the attachments without losing the attachment indicator (the ‘paper clip’ in the email).  You can delete the attachment from the email if you wish, so long as you file it away on the appropriate sub-folder.

    Now ..when it comes time to close the file and archive the data….

    In Outlook…I would open each of the folders that contain that client/matter emails and ‘select all’ to grab all the emails in each of these folders.

    Then I would “print” all the emails from within Outlook as one big Adobe file using Adobe Acrobat (standard or professional).

    If the folder is large, the PDF may take a little time to generate, but all the formatting, colors, graphics etc are preserved and it will be fully searchable.

    From there, you could take each of the separate client folders and sub-folders on the network…say: Correspondence, pleadings etc…and combine them into one big PDF package containing all the separate files (including the Outlook emails and network folders including the attachment folders) that together compromise the client’s file.  From here you can burn the PDF package to a CD or DVD or move it into an ‘archive’ section of the network.

    I think the Worldox method is cleaner, less-complicated and brings overall document management benefits to the firm, but I recognize that there will be others looking for a different solution.  But all of us need to find ways to rescue our lives from the complications caused by email.

    This entry was posted on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 at 11:16 am and is filed under Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Make it Work!, Technology, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    5 Responses to “Email Management”
    1. K. Eckerle Says:

      As a Virtual Assistant specializing in legal work I am constantly hammering at my attorneys and other clients about properly filing and controlling their email. With the new Electronic Discovery Act just passed in California this will become even more relevant. These sound like workable solutions and something worth checking into. Good post.

    2. Alex Kovalchuk (TechHit) Says:

      David, Thank you for describing an email archiving approach using EZDetach and SimplyFile.

      Some of our customers have been using our MessageSave product for archiving email messages (in msg format) in client network folders. Keeping messages in msg format makes them easy to search, keeps all attachments intact, and even allows replying/forwarding. Plus one can use standard tools for backups, access control, long-term storage, etc. What do you think about that approach?

    3. Alita Bluford Says:

      Excellent posts to processing and managing email. I am an efficiency consultant specializing in working with attorneys and other paper intensive industries. Behavior management is the critical component. Any tool that you acquire will work for you only if: it is the right tool, you have been well trained on its features and benefits, and if it is accompanied by a behavior process (yes yours) that is easy for you to do and can be maintained with minimal effort.

    4. email archiving Says:

      While we’re dabbling in the area of David Bilinsky – Thoughtful Legal Management, This increasing document retention, along with the ever-increasing size of attachments, has caused email systems to dramatically increase in size and therefore demand higher technical capacity and management.

    5. Diseño| Hosting| Computadoras Says:

      Diseño| Hosting| Computadoras…

      [...]David Bilinsky – Thoughtful Legal Management[...]…

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