To all the federal officials, I'm looking to adopt a system for my daily office managment. For example, filing/storing steno files, completed transcript files, unedited transcript files, .wav files. How do you handle transcript requests/TPO/scheduling order forms? Do you retain in separate file?

I feel as if I have no set system in place and would love to hear what others are doing in hopes of incorporating some of the ideas. Thanks.


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Well, here is what I do, FWIW. I read on every file I take, whether it's ordered or not. I name every file with a date and the initials of the party. For example, a case I covered today in USA v John Smith would be 091009JS. I have a Save folder for every year, and within the Save folder have 12 subfolders numbered 01Jan, 02Feb, etc. (If you don't put the number on it arranges it in alphabetical order, which I don't like.) Then after I read the file on, I move it to the save directory. If it's a write-up, I move it after it's done. Now, for finished transcripts, since everything is .pdf now, I have a folder that I put all my final .pdfs in. That way, if I sell a copy, I can go right to that folder and find it. It's small and doesn't take up much room on the drive. Obviously, I have backup drives that I routinely back up to, also. As far as order forms, we're not all that busy here in Cleveland, so they are on the front of my metal file cabinet with magnets. When they're done and filed, they go in my "filed" folder. If you have a long trial, you can always make a subfolder within your month folder and call it Smith, or whatever. I hope this gives you some guidance. All I know is I've done this for six years and I can find any file in a matter of a minute or two!
As an official, I have found that my organizational system has evolved over the past 15 years. Here's what I do now.

Every day after court, I transfer any files I write to my laptop to an external hard drive for archiving until needed. I keep all my files e.g. steno, audio, text, job dictionaries, together. Finished transcripts are converted to .pdf and saved to a folder in the My Documents folder. The CAT files go back to my external hard drive.

I keep folders in my CAT system labeled from January to December and within those folders label a subfolder with Week of October 12, 2009, etc. So I have four sub folders for each month. I do my trials and extended hearings the same way with USA v. Jones and then each subfolder is a day of trial or hearing.
For handling orders, I have a sheet that I fill out when I received an order for a transcript. I also have a folder to keep all my orders organized.

After I received payment for an order I enter them in my billing program that I use. I then put the check stubs which I mark paid into its corresponding folder: Public defender, prosecutor's office, private attorneys.
I also have a folder for business expenses.

I also keep two more folders for when I work with in other reporters in producing daily copy. I keep track of our pages by using a tally sheet which goes into that folder. I have a second folder for when the reporter I help on a trial gives me a tally sheet which I mark as paid when that reporter pays me for the pages I produce them.

Some reporters use Quicken to keep track of billing. I don't but that's just a what I've seen. If you're a federal official, or going to become one, check out WinUSR what is a program that fills out all of our forms and keeps track of billing, expeneses, and attendance.

Take care and feel free to contact me if you need any more advice.


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