How to Organize Your Firm E-Files

By Ally Kennedy, Founder Amiga Lawyers

In the article How to Automate Your Immigration Law Firm, I give you every template and tool that we use to make your firm fully automated, but there is another important part to your firm’s automation: E-File Organization.

Templates serve almost no purpose if they are difficult to find or disorganized. It is important to have a streamlined way to manage your pending cases.


This is how we do it:

We use Dropbox for Business as our server. All documents are saved there.

Here is a screenshot of the main screen of our firm’s Dropbox:

 

The entire firm is organized around one folder, and that’s the File Setup Folder.

The Firm Setup Folder is organized by case type, and within every single file set up folder are the templates that correspond to the case type. It sounds confusing, but keep reading because it really isn’t difficult at all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a screen shot of the different file setups that we have:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside every file setup, these are the internal files:

 

 

 

Every single e-file has these same internal files.

However, every single template is in the corresponding e-file.


Sign-Up Folder

For example, in the I-360 file, here is the “sign up” folder:

 

Because at the sign up we do the contract, fee waiver, I-360 with AOS questionnaire, and the I-360 Declaration Guidance Questionnaire , they are all in the sign up folder.


Client Communications Folder

Within the “Client Communication Letters” we have every single FYI letter that we have created by case type.

 

They are numbered in order of what will happen in the case, such as Copy of Submission, Receipt Notices, Biometrics Notice, Work Authorization Approval, and so on, that way it is easy to see what has already been done. We also have them separated by English and Spanish to make it easy.


“Forms” Folder

We do not use a forms software because our system is faster than the forms software. We have in this file every form related to the case type, so that our VA can quickly fill in the forms based on the client questionnaires.


Supporting Documents Folder

This is where the LA scans in all of the client’s documents and saves them according to our naming key. (i.e. Birth Certificate- USC Daughter- Leslie- CRUZ, Juan).

 


Submission Materials Folder

In this folder you will find every template that is necessary to prepare the legal case. This includes the case summary sheet, case cover letter, legal argument, and the index of documents.

 


Submission Folder

This is where we scan a copy of the full submission


USCIS Receipts and Communications Folder

This is where we scan in each receipt notice and other USCIS communication. Each document is scanned separately and named according to our naming key (which always includes the client’s name).


This file organization has cut down time searching for templates and other often-used documents. Also, it allows us to easily find exactly what we need in each client’s e-file. It has been a complete game changer.

Once a client signs up, you just copy the folder and paste it into the Clients à Open Cases folder.

 

The files are organized by case type and then client name, so it is easy to find and easy to organize. Everything is ready to go in the file, all that is needed is to make the templates personalized and case specific.


We would love to hear from you! Does this work for you and your firm? How do you set up your online forms?


About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:

Alexandra "Ally" Kennedy is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her partner and their 5 children.