For those legally wise women who have engaged a solicitor to help them, this is about how to keep track of your own records for your legal matter.
Part of being legally wise is taking responsibility for your own legal matter.
You can’t just hand off responsibility to a professional. There are certain things that a professional will do for you, but their primary role is to advise.
It’s your life, it’s your matter, so you have to keep responsibility of it.
Now that being said, there’s going to be a whole lot of things that your lawyer is doing for you. You need to keep track of what correspondence goes backwards and forwards, what advice you’re given, what offers are made and any court legal documents.
Most solicitors will email everything to you, so you should have a complete record of pretty much everything they’re doing. I would suggest either having a special folder in your email browser on your laptop or PC where you move everything to that is emailed to you about your legal matter.
If you’re happy to use purely electronic records, then I suggest you also have a separate folder on your desktop which becomes the folder for your legal matter. Inside that folder, I suggest sub-folders.
So sub-folders should be:
- offers, and
- legal documents.
You may want to keep your own notes as well. So if you type up some notes about what advice you’re given during conversations, you’d put them into another ‘notes’ sub-folder.
Then each piece of correspondence that comes in either from your solicitor or from the other party’s solicitor goes into the correspondence folder.
Try and keep it sequential in terms of date, so you can work out if you have to go back, the sequence of what happened when.
Keep another folder with all the legal documents. So you may have multiple drafts before you end up signing a legal document. Realistically the ones you want to keep are the ones that have a court seal on them. So after you’ve signed documents, your solicitor files those, they should then give you sealed copies, which are the ones the court has. When the other party sends legal documents, they serve you with those, they should also have a court seal. So again, keep those all together so you’ve got one central place for all your legal documents.
The reason why I like to keep offers separate from general correspondence is because you want to come back to them and double-check what offers have been made when, and what are still current, what offer do we need to tweak or change, and what offer can we rely on in a cost matter, for example.
So, you don’t have to understand everything that I’ve been talking about in terms of cost, service, filing, all those things, but just understand to take responsibility for your matter. As a woman who is legally wise, you are responsible for what happens in your life. The solicitor is assisting, guiding, advising, but ultimately make sure you take control and keep records for yourself too.