< Back
Best Practices – Office Procedure Manual
Post on August 25th, 2021

Effective law office management will allow your practice to run ethically and efficiently.  Best practices indicate that having a good office procedure manual helps everyone in the firm to follow the same policies and procedures and helps attorneys fulfill the ethical duties required by Rules 5.1 and 5.3 of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct.

Your office procedure manual should be reviewed at least annually and kept updated regularly. Whether your office procedure manual is kept in paper or electronic format, it must be kept under strict security protocols as it literally has everything you need to run your law firm.

Your Office Procedure Manual* should include:

IT Information

Log-in and password information – kept securely – for:

      • Office computers
      • Mobile devices
      • Voicemail
      • Cloud storage
      • Billing systems
      • Calendaring system
      • Email (including server addresses and passwords)
      • Online banking
      • Vendors
      • Other websites the law office regularly uses


Data resources for conflicts of interest check

      • Refine how to address if there is a conflict


Use of the office calendaring system

      • Shared calendars
      • Statute of limitations and other filing deadlines


Email procedures

      • Encryption requirements


Document processing

      • Metadata removal procedures – especially when using templates/sample forms


Website and Advertising

      • Review website
        • Be sure information is updated
        • Consider adding how you are serving your clients during COVID



      • Incident Response Plan (IRP)
      • Training


Client Communication

How to generate a list of active client files, including client names, mailing and email addresses, phone numbers

Client Letters

      • Engagement letter
      • Non-engagement letter
      • Fee contract
      • Update/status letter
      • Withdraw from representation letter
      • File closing letter


Information on client files

How open/active files are organized and kept

Document client files

      • Use checklist to be sure procedures are followed
      • Include chronology of file from conflicts check to closing


Where closed files, if any, are stored


Firm’s client file retention and destruction policy

      • Consider returning the file to the client at the conclusion of representation


Financial Information

Where and how client ledgers are maintained

      •  Properly maintain IOLTA records and ledgers, See Rule 1.15
      •  Include Fee Agreements, if any, with IOLTA records


Time and billing procedures and software


Names and contact information for:

      • Office personnel
      • Financial institutions
      • Accountants
      • Landlords
      • Vendors
      • Insurance agents/brokers


As always, if there are any questions about this or any other loss prevention topic, please contact us at OBLIC.  We’re here to help!

Gretchen Mote, Esq.
Director of Loss Prevention

Monica Waller, Esq.
Senior Loss Prevention Counsel

*See Ohio Ethics Guide: Succession Planning at P. 7