Every month, the legal magazines keep piling up. Some might actually contain some useful information. But when are you going to find the time to read them? If you're like me, you're prone to simply glance at the new magazines and add them to the stack, where you hope to be able to get to them "someday."
There's a better system, which works reasonably well. It's sort of obvious, but on the other hand, I've never seen anyone use this system--although I've kept at it pretty well since I started stacking up legal magazines about eighteen years ago.
The system works like this:
- Set aside some time to tackle one of those stacks of magazines;
- Flip through each magazine quickly, and rip out only those articles you want to keep for future reference, judging from the title. There's no need to actually read the articles at this point--if you do, you'll never get through the stack;
- Take the articles you've saved, insert the edges in a 3-hole punch, and file each away in binders set up with descriptive dividers that approximate the issues you face in your own practice.
For me, this means notebooks containing articles about substantive law and notebooks with articles about procedure--most obviously, trial procedure. For example, I have a notebook that contains articles, separated by dividers, about written discovery, pre-trial motions, motions in limine, voir dire, opening statement, direct examination, trial evidence, damages, cross examination, closing, jury instructions, and so on. When I want to find an article about a particular topic, or when I just want to read up on the latest ideas about a particular topic, I know where to look.
Another option is to scan the articles you want to save and store them in computer folders set up like notebooks. But since I'm old-fashioned, I prefer paper, which takes up more space but which I can flip through more quickly when I need to.