File Maintenance



  1. Each client’s file is created and maintained to keep pertinent information regarding the client’s case organized and easily accessible to the student attorney for IRS conferences or Tax Court purposes while the case is open, and to document our representation so a supervising attorney or subsequent student attorney may be able to quickly review the file and immediately know the status of the case and issues in dispute.
    • It is of critical importance that each document or letter mailed from the Clinic be signed, dated and copied, and the signed copy (not signed original) placed in the file.
    • The Clinic’s Administrative Coordinator will be responsible for mailing all items from the clinic.
    • On all drafts that are not finalized but which are maintained in the file, the student attorney must write “Draft” in a conspicuous place, and the draft must be placed on the Miscellaneous side of the file and dated. This practice will keep all subsequent student-attorneys clear on exactly which documents have been provided to whom.
    • Loose documents should not be left in the file. If you need or want to keep some documentation separately to be used as evidence, we will provide you a pocket envelope.  Once these documents are copied, originals need to be returned to the client immediately. Once the original documents are returned, the copies should be fastened to the file. If you already have a copy of the documents in a completed notebook, no need to keep an additional copy.  Correspondence you’re currently working on – you begin today and plan to continue working on it tomorrow – would be the exception.
  2. As the student attorney managing the file, you are required to record your time spent on the file on AMICUS.  If for some reason you cannot access AMICUS – i.e. you’re working from home – please write down your time.  AMICUS will allow you to create a Time Entry at a later date and allows you to credit the time to the actual day. AMICUS provides several ways of recording time spent.  Please refer to the following page on our website: procedures/amicus/
  1. All new files will be set up by the Administrative Coordinator according to the guidelines below. As you begin working on your cases, try to make them as organized as possible for the next student attorney.  Note that this is the same order they are set up on the ‘I’ drive and documents are to be filed accordingly.
    • As you place documents in the paper file, it is important that everything be placed in reverse chronological order (meaning that the     oldest documents are on the bottom, and the newest or most recently received documents and letters are on the top.
    • As new clients are accepted, they will be set up with a 4 sided file and organized as follows:


Side 1:  Basic Client Data – (From bottom up)

  • Intake
  • Initial Contact sheet
  • Recommendation memo
  • Client information checklist, all transition memos.                 

Side 2:   Client Correspondence –

  • All correspondence to and from the client, including engagement letter (not including initial paperwork)
  • Copies of everything we mail to the client, except correspondence to and from the IRS.

 Side 3:    Miscellaneous – (From bottom up)

  • ALL POA’s. These will be placed under a tab, in reverse chronological order (most recent on top).
  • Copies of documents to be used for evidence – i.e. birth certificates, social security cards, copies of bills, etc.
  • PACER reports
  • Accurint reports
  • All drafts and notes;
  • Affidavits from witnesses
  • Anything left over that doesn’t belong in another area.

Of course, there are some cases that will require more room for documents than is available on the four-sided file.   If this occurs, simply use additional file folders and draft a quick memo to the file for subsequent student-attorneys describing the organization.  Make sure you number the files (1 of 2, 2 of 2, etc) so they can be kept together.

Side 4:  IRS and Tax Court documents and correspondence (in chronological order by date received at the Clinic):

  • All correspondence TO and FROM the IRS (except POA’s) including letters sent to the client by the IRS that the client brings/mails to the clinic
  • Memos supporting Offers in Compromise or Audit Reconsiderations
  • 90-day letters
  • All petitions and all pleadings filed with the Tax Court,
  • Anything generated BY the IRS, such as transcripts
  • Copies of final documents of everything sent to the IRS;
  • Copies of past returns filed (whether brought by client of filed by the Clinic on their behalf;
  • forms 433A, 656 and 656A;
  • Copies of any notebooks mailed out to the IRS after scanning.
  • Any correspondence TO and FROM the Taxpayer Advocate’s office
  • POA Revocation letters. This should be top sheet with confirmation attached to the back.

We will also continue to keep paper copies of everything.   Remember that many of these cases will remain open long after you graduate and begin practicing law.  Therefore, please convey as much information as possible to the subsequent student attorney’s by keeping the file organized and complete, and updating the Summary page in Amicus.  The summary page can be copied and placed in the client’s paper file and attached to the transition memo.  Once you assume the case, the paper folder is your responsibility, so it should be organized as described above, whether the previous student followed this structure or not.

Checking Files Out

You are permitted to check files out of the Clinic. ( Keep in mind the minimum number of hours that you are required to work in the Clinic offices.) When you check a file out, please note which files you are taking and the date you are removing the files.  The sign-out sheet is located in Room 004, in one of the trays.

Generally, you are not permitted to keep a file out of the Clinic office for longer than three days without the permission of one of the Clinic directors. When you return a file cross it off the list of checked out files.  Because we periodically receive inquiries about files it is best that the paper files be available.  Thus, it is preferable if you copy relevant portions of the files rather than removing the entire file folder from the clinic. The same strict rules of confidentiality are applicable while you have the file checked out.