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Mail Distribution

Incoming mail
One person should be responsible for picking up, opening and date stamping all the mail. Every item received in the office should be stamped with a receipt date. Once this has been accomplished distribution should be made to the secretary of each attorney.

The secretary should review the mail for dates and items of importance. She should look for correspondence requiring a response, receipt of information which the attorney has been waiting for, notices of important dates for meetings and hearings, depositions, trials, etc. Such correspondence should be flagged, either by highlighting the important information or by attaching a note to the correspondence so that the attorney notices it right away.

Make notations on the calendar. Make an entry into the docket control system for deadlines.

You may want to separate the mail into three different stacks: 1) legal periodicals and newsletters; 2) junk mail; 3) correspondence and pleadings that require immediate attention. To place all of the mail in one stack will seem overwhelming to the attorney. Unfortunately, instead of sorting through the stack, the attorney will move the stack to the side in hopes of getting to it at a later time. By having the secretary sort through the mail and highlight the items that need immediate attention, the attorney can tend to important matters right away and either discard or put aside the reading material and junk mail until later.

Attach the mail to the client file before being placed on the attorney's desk. It is easy for loose mail to be misplaced or misfiled. Also, if these loose items of mail are given back to the secretary for filing, they may sit on the secretary's desk for an indefinite period of time until the secretary finds time to do the filing. After all, filing is a job that most of us put off as long as possible.

Once the mail (attached to the file) is returned to the secretary, she can place the mail in the file in its proper place and return the file to the cabinet. This will help to keep the files as current as possible. Attorneys and staff review files to bring themselves up-to-date on the case. This cannot be done if all of the correspondence and/or documents have not yet been filed.

Outgoing mail
Any correspondence prepared for review by an attorney should not be added to the already overwhelming stacks on the attorney's desk. Correspondence can easily be shifted and covered by other matters added to the stack. The attorney may not get to the correspondence for several days.

The correspondence should be given directly to the attorney or put in a noticeable place. Consider designating a special basket or area just for documents requiring review and signature. Place post-it notes on the documents to show when they must go out (example, red means must be mailed today).

Pull the file and refer to it when preparing correspondence. This way, you'll get the correct names and addresses. Also, the file should indicate if copies are to be sent to a particular person such as co-counsel. If additional copies of the letter and enclosures are to be mailed, make a notation on the file copy of the persons to whom copies were sent.

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