In the early years of practice, it is useful for a criminal lawyer to develop a systematic method for organizing and filing reference materials.

One popular method is to use a single 'A to Z' filing system. I highly recommend reviewing David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

With respect to the collection of reference materials, a practitioner should always be on the lookout for information that may be useful at a later date. This includes retaining information from professional development activities and reviewing each closed file in order to recycle valuable research or precedents.

Curating a practitioner’s archive requires an ongoing commitment. Counsel will need to set aside time to ensure that new material is properly filed. Counsel will also need to purge outdated, and potentially misleading, material subsequent to new developments in the law. 

A practitioner’s archive represents an invaluable source of ideas for resolving complicated issues and crafting creative arguments. An archive also ensures that a practitioner does not waste precious time reinventing the wheel.

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