JD organizing system for lawyers

I recently discovered the JD system and decided to give it a go. I’ve been using PARA this last year, but still have some problems finding files. I like the concept of JD’s numbering system, and have started making my own structure. However, I have a problem that was hoping you could help me with. I am struggling with how to number my client work. I have a legal consulting business, and have traditionally numbered my clients by year, with a simple structure of, for example, 2020-01 (Client Name). however, in the last year, I’ve signed several clients that give me multiple projects every week, and I’ve struggled with how to best organize them. So far, I’ve kept them separately and just give them the same year - 01 (project name) nomenclature. But, I feel I could do better.

Anyway, I wanted to know how others here organize multiple clients. So far, the best I’ve come up with:
[10-19] Client Work
11. Subject Matter area 1 (field that most of my clients have issues with)
12. Subject Matter area 2 (2nd field that generates client work)
13. Major client 1 (that gives me many cases).
14. Major client 2 (that gives me many cases)
15. Consulting
16. Pro Bono.
17. Other.

However, I don’t know if I should then do, for example, 11.01 2021 and then organize clients/cases underneath per year, or if I should just do 11 - 2021 12, 2022 13 - 2023, etc.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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This feels like you need a hybrid of the good ole’ fashioned way – the alphabet – and JD. And depending on your needs, you might not bother with numbers for the first part. (And have you see the multiple projects page by the way?)

How you structure that probably depends on how big and how similar each project is. I’m assuming in your context ‘a project’ is a legal job of some sort which is self-contained.

My first instinct says don’t try and do anything clever with the client stuff. It’s at the top level, and the alphabet works just fine.

├─ A Client
|  ├─  // some JD system in here for each client
├─ Best Client
├─ Client Third
├─ Decent Client

Then I presume you’re going to need a place to store stuff that’s common to the entire business? Your taxes and so on?

Under each of these trees you might use PRO.AC.ID as per the projects page, ideally using a template for each new structure to keep them as similar as possible.

Probably need more feedback to be of more use, let me know what you think.

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Hi. Thanks for writing.I did read your article on multiple projects, but for some reason, my brain struggled processing it. That’s why I reached out to the group, to see what others have done.

That being said, I did my own way of it using your triple numbering system. My hack so far was doing, say:
20-29 Clients
I probably broke the rule here, but I then divided clients between my main case law areas. For example, I did:
21 contracts
22 immigration
23 copyright

I then put each clients” name as say,

101.21 Client name 1
101.21.01 - client matter 1
101.21.02 - matter 2

102.21 client name 2
And so on

This actually has helped me with the following:

  1. I’ve struggled for years coming up with a numbering system for some reason. This one has finally clicked in my head.
  2. I’ve had several clients that I’ve done many matters through the years. I’ve always organized by year, but this was a problem when I needed documents to do a new matter. I would struggle looking for the year and I would just end up copying documents over, which has led me to significant duplicate file issues. This system allows me to have a client neatly tied in 1 folder and will make it a lot easier to pull their documents out.

I also created as you mention, a 20-29 for say, administrative, and then a 30-39 for reference books and resources.

Anyway, if folks have advice on how to do this in a way that complies with the 2 folder rule, I’m happy to listen and try it out: