The Bluebook is a style manual for citing legal documents in the United States-hence the phrase Bluebook citation. It comprises in excess of 500 pages and is essential for every law student and legal practitioner in the U.S.A. It is a comprehensive reference book for law practitioners and students alike and has been known to cause frustration to many people who have attempted to use it.
In fact much of the Bluebook is irrelevant for lawyers or paralegals drafting legal documents and there is a useful cheat sheet inside the back cover.
Bluebook citation as set out in the Bluebook is the correct way to cite American legal documents in law journals, court documents, legal briefs, and so forth.
There is also an online version of the Bluebook-the Bluebook online-which requires a subscription. The Bluebook citation style is not the only way of citing legal documents or sources but is the most commonly used and authoritative.
The BB shows you styles for short form citation, local citation rules, books, cases, statutes, periodicals, typeface conventions, electronic sources of legal decisions, and so forth.
All of the rules for citing State and Federal cases, unpublished decisions , Supreme Court and District Court cases, how and when to underline, use abbreviations etc. are set out pretty clearly.
Legal document management software can provide many benefits to the modern law office.
Legal document management software does this by allowing you to conduct audit trails, prepare documents for court, smooth document management, management of emails, electronic signatures and so forth.
The Knowledge tree software is open source software and permits the safe custody and retrieval of legal documents. It also allows the freezing of documents at a point in time in compliance with the Sarbanes Oxley Act to prevent the subsequent editing of legal documents.
Remote collaboration between attorneys, lawyers and legal staff, audit trails and secure scanning and storage of documents in accordance with your firm’s method of filing documents is possible with Knowledge Tree software.
One thing that any legal document management software product should permit is the scanning, imaging and merging of legal documents in one database for easy reference and possibly transcription.
Elnfotree software is also aimed at legal document management. It has a graphic web interface which allows sharing and collaboration in relation to documents across the network or internet. As with all legal document management one of the primary objectives is the reduction in physical storage requirements and access across a network and complete document life cycle management.
We have taken a look at Amicus Attorney elsewhere on this site.
The goal of all legal document management software programs is to assist in the move towards the paperless office. Many lawyers and attorneys however are finding that this is much more difficult than thought heretofore.
Nevertheless legal document management if done properly can assist in this goal and reduce the need for paper, allow access and collaboration between many people and most importantly allow you to go to court with documents which will stand up to evidential scrutiny.
The need to retain legal papers for varying amounts of time even after files have been closed does place a significant burden on law offices with the potential for malpractice suits always looming in the back of the mind of the diligent attorney.
A good legal document software package will allow you to reduce your physical storage space requirements with the facility to print hard copies of documents if and when needed, especially when heading to Court.
Law office supplies have the potential to be a significant ongoing overhead for any law office.
Failure to manage your office supplies could see you throwing away quite a bit of potential profit on a yearly and monthly basis.
Managing your law office supplies should be a task delegated to one person who you can trust and who is prepared to give the job the time it deserves.
Law Office Stationery
The legal stationery you choose for your office will reflect on your legal practice and it’s image but a failure to keep an eye on your buying can lead to a huge wasted expenditure.
Taking a close interest at what is available online will allow you to keep your legal stationer on his toes when it comes to pricing. Common legal stationery that you will need will include
- Legal binders such as lever arch and three ring binders
- Customized presentation binders
- Pleading paper
- Printer cartridges
- Envelopes of various sizes
- Legal file storage boxes and bankers boxes
- Precedent banks in the specialty areas your law firm concentrates on
- Law office forms such as forms for real estate, bankruptcy, company incorporation, apartment lease, power of attorney, affidavit templates, last will and testament and trust stationery and many other legal forms and precedents.
Blumberg is a good source of such legal stationery and if you don’t use them you can at least check prices with your existing supplier and be aware of what you should be paying.
The difference in price between good quality paper and binders versus mid to low quality is enormous but you should still be able to negotiate a good price and not be gouged simply because you want a decent product to project a good, professional image for your law firm.
Law Office Software
Law office software is a possible purchase for your practice but it will really depend on your size and how many attorneys, paralegals and files you have. Law office software such as Amicus Attorney and Abacus Gold are practice management software programs but if you are a small practice or solo attorney you will get by fine without such software in the early days of development.
For a solo practitioner it is quite possible to organize your files very efficiently with the simple folders provided in Microsoft Office and either Microsoft Outlook or the calendar in your Gmail account can be a very efficient way of calendaring appointments and critical dates.
The Google calendaring module in your Gmail account can be set up to record all of your critical dates and send automatic reminders to your email account. This can in turn be synched with your iPhone or other android type phone or iPad to create a very efficient and free scheduling and calendaring system.
The key takeaway from this piece is that with a little ingenuity and creativity you can easily organize your law office (particularly if you are a sole practitioner) at a very low cost with lots of great free tools available online, particularly from Google such as Gmail and Google calendar.
This type of creative thinking should also be applied to your sourcing of law office supplies to ensure that your law practice management is efficient and cost effective.