As a member of the legal community, you’ve more than likely experienced a war room situation. In other words, a central location where you, your paralegals and other consultants gather to plan strategies, develop tactics, perform reconnaissance and post-session debriefings.
When organized properly, a war room is instrumental in helping you and your team work through a case and prepare your line of defense or offense. It’s your office away from your office, with all hands on deck and all the information you need to pull together the best case possible. On the other hand, a disorganized war room can cause even more chaos, stress and busy work to you and your team—which is never a good thing when you’re in the middle of a trial situation.
Unfortunately, if you’re like most of us, your day is filled with too much work and not enough time—meaning that when it’s time to pull a war room together, it ends up being more slap-dash than seamlessly executed because it’s not something you do every day.
Organizing war rooms are something we at Alaris are very familiar with. Here are five of our top tips for setting up an effective and productive war room for your staff:
1. Bring everything you need from your office—yes, everything.
Case files? Check. Flip charts and markers? Check. File folders and notepads? Check and check. The big things you need are easy to remember...but what about a stapler? Hole punch? Paper clips? Sticky notes? The best war rooms have everything you need at your fingertips, including those easily-overlooked-yet-very-important office tools. Make a list of your essentials and be sure to stock your war room with them so your entire team can spend their energy brainstorming instead of running errands.
2. Don’t forget about food.
Know what really eats up a lot of valuable time? Eating. Specifically, running out to grab lunch, coffee, snacks or beverages. Stock your war room with essentials like bottled water, coffee, granola bars, fresh fruit or any other items to keep hunger at bay. And don’t forget about lunch! The best course of action is to have food catered in, or have one person coordinate the ordering and pickup of food to minimize the amount of think-time that’s used.
3. Take care of your clients.
It’s inevitable that your clients will be in the war room from time to time, so make sure their needs are taken care of. Having snacks, drinks and lunch available is important, but so is providing a space for them to call their own. One option is to set up a corner of the room with comfortable chairs and a low table. You can even bring a TV in, if that option is available. Be sure to leave some electrical outlets available for them to charge their phones or laptops if needed.
4. Keep it confidential.
Confidentiality is key to our business, which is easy to remember when you’re in the familiarity of your routine and office. However, when you’re shuttling back and forth to the war room, security can sometimes slip through the cracks. Make sure to keep confidential documents in a locked area or another safe place to keep them from being lost or falling into the wrong hands.
5. Make a list and check it twice (or as many times as you need).
Something as simple as a master checklist can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful war room. The best time to do this is before you need the war room, so you can prep in a timely fashion. This list should include all processes you will need to have a successful war room including supplies, steps you will take to book the room, ordering food and ensuring everyone is aware of their responsibilities leading up to and during the trial. In short: take a page out of the Boy Scout handbook and “Be Prepared.”
Alaris understands the importance of a well-organized war room, which is why we offer our Legal Concierge Services. We can handle every detail, from finding a conference space, arranging transportation, dealing with vendors, coordinating catering and so much more. You’ll have peace of mind, knowing your war room will be productive, organized and beneficial to winning your case.