A series of articles emphasizing practical
knowledge you can't find in practice guides
and interviews with experts who share
their techniques for effective and efficient
case management


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Articles emphasizing practical knowledge you can't find in practice guides

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Profiles of people who changed workers’ compensation law.

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Letters to the Editors

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• Warren Schneider
• Marjory Harris





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> Send in your tips for office organization or requests for solutions
to office problems.

"It's the Net that Counts"

Law offices are rarely models of efficiency. Legal work tends to be labor intensive.
Even with automation, it is not like running a bakery, for example, where bread
machines can do much of the work.. The knee jerk reaction is to hire more staff as
the workload increases, rather than to invest in better equipment and learning more
efficient methods. More staff means a need for more space, which means higher
operating costs. More cases mean more time away from the office. In the end, your
net may decrease despite a higher gross. Years ago, when I started my own
general practice, an opponent in a divorce case told me, "It's the net that counts."
When people tell me what they gross, I deduct 65-75%, the usual office overhead.
Only in small efficient practices can you reverse these figures.

I hope you get some useful ideas from this article. Even instituting a few changes
may save a good deal of money and frustration.

The Basic Layout

Borrowing an idea from kitchen design of a work triangle connecting the major
equipment, I designed a space where I could swivel in my comfortable, high backed
chair and reach printers, scanners, copier, fax machine and reference works.

The Cockpit: Behind the chair are stands with fax, printers, scanners and copier,
and reference works. On the desk at the left on cantilevered shelves are a laser
printer, notebook computer (with second monitor), phone with headset, etc. Below
the left wing of the Biomorph desk are two computer towers. On the keyboard shelf
are the ergonomic keyboard and mouse, USB tablet, the pocket computer, pens,
pencils, etc. On the main section are the two monitors connected to the main
computer, the monitor for the security camera, a lamp, and a card scanner. To my
right are two small scanners, a two-drawer cart that holds action files, and the
conference table. Under the desk are a foot massager and trash basket.

View from the other side.

Conference Table: The conference table has a 3-drawer cabinet under it, and a
chair for the client to sit. When there is no one visiting, the table is covered with files
and papers I am working on. Note the audio-visual cart and wall-mounted plasma
TV across from the table, ideal for watching surveillance videos or "Law and Order"
as I sort and scan and label mail at night.

Bookshelves and AV Cart.

Behind the Cockpit: Stand with laser fax, stationery and envelopes, rolling cart
for filing, color laser printer, small color printer, reference books, Rolodex, copier,
recycling receptacle.

Some Productivity Equipment

Biomorph Desk with Shelves and Conference Table:

Wheeled Carts and File Drawers:

Wire Shelving:

and check on Google for best price

Dual Monitors: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/

Phone and Headset:
Panasonic 4-line phone with Parrott VXI headset to switch between phone
and computer (for use with voice recognition software):


Ergonomic Keyboard & Mouse:
http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/max-spec.htm and

Wacom Intuos3 4x5 USB Tablet (for use with OneNote)

HP LaserJet and Dell Color Laser

Brother IntelliFax-4750e

Current favorite is Fujitsu ScanSnap S500. It is small, fast, amazing OCR
accuracy. One-button scanning to PDF format.

AV Equipment:
Panasonic plasma TV, DVD VCR Recorder Combo

Making it Work

No amount of equipment will increase efficiency and lower overhead if one does
not learn how to use it and set up a productive work flow. Even then, without almost
religious adherence to the new system, it is easy to slip back into letting things
pile up, filling the desk with post-its and pads of easy to misplace notes and phone
numbers, unsorted stacks of unfilled papers, etc. In the next issue we explore office
software to promote efficiency and lower overhead.

Coming In the next issue: Software for Office Productivity.

Computer Corner:
How to Work Faster, More Efficiently,
and with Lower Overhead

By Marjory Harris

In this series, we explore organizational
techniques, software and hardware that will
help you clear the mess from your desk, be
more productive, and cut office overhead.
In this article we explore hardware and an
efficient office setup that will help you work
faster and better.

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