Anyone who has recently moved an office or home (or both at the same time) is familiar with the scatterbrainedness that accompanies the general sense of displacement. Having recently experienced the chaos fun of moving myself, I’m sharing my moving checklist here to hopefully simplify the process for someone else.
Addresses. This is the bulk of the moving to-do list, but is one of the easiest things to do. First and foremost: forward your mail. You can do this online at USPS.
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Any automatically billed accounts (e.g., online or office supply stores, website hosting, courier services)
- Other financial accounts (e.g., small business loans)
- Attorney registration with the Minnesota Supreme Court (information here)
- Minnesota State Bar Association (address change form) Note: Make sure to double check your published address preferences
- District bar associations
- Minnesota CLE (update your profile on its website)
- National, specialized, or minority bar associations (e.g. ABA, MWL, MABL, MLBA)
- Other state bars where licensed
- Law school alumni association
- Professional liability (malpractice) insurer
- Liability insurer, as this is probably with a different provider
For Business Entities
- Minnesota Secretary of State (for change of registered address and/or agent: login or download PDF)
- Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board
- Tax-related information
- Make sure your clients have updated contact information
- Update the court and opposing counsel in any active cases
Office Supplies and Marketing Materials
- Order new checks and deposit slips
- Order new business cards
- Update your email signature
- Update your website
- If you keep a stock of printed letterhead, envelopes, invoices, return address labels, brochures, or other marketing materials, reorder with your new address.
- If not, update your letter templates.
If an email change coincides with your address change, also update: listservs (your listserv email will not be changed automatically when you update your MSBA contact information), e-mail newsletters not from the above organizations, LinkedIn and any other online accounts that use an email address as your username. Consider sending an email to everyone in your contacts.
Utilities. It seems like there is hardly anything we can do without internet these days. Make sure everything is ready to go on day one, or plan for some reduced efficiency. Switch over your:
- Internet service
- Phone and fax service
- Depending on what services your landlord provides, also check into: liability insurance, electricity/gas, water/sewer, trash/recycling, etc.
Notaries. Complete instructions here. If you are registered at your home address and only moved your office, you may not need to file this change.
- Change your address with the Secretary of State
- If you changed counties, register in your county and order new stamps
Marketing. A new address is a great opportunity to send out announcements to friends, clients, and business connections. Remind them of your practice areas and any new services they might not be aware of. Here’s a short list of ideas:
- Mail new address announcements or “we moved” postcards
- Have an open house and invite people to check our your new digs
- Add your firm or attorney nameplate to the lobby in your new building
Tips. A few final thoughts:
- Plan to take a few days to settle in and get everything set up. You might feel like you’re losing a few days of work, but you’ll make up for it in efficiency once you start back up. It will be much easier to take client calls when you don’t have to open three boxes to find their file.
- Keep your active files, checkbook, and phone numbers handy for emergencies.
- Pay your monthly bills early so you don’t have to hunt them down (or forget) to mail them.
- Measure to make sure your furniture will fit into your new space. If it’s an option, consider painting before you move furniture.
- Get rid of things you don’t need and to switch to a paperless office system, if time permits. I’ve been switching over to paperless since I got my scanner a few months ago, and can say without a doubt the most annoying things to move are all of my CLE binders and magazine articles that haven’t make it through the scanner yet. Save yourself the backache and get organized before moving.
- At risk of subjecting myself to teasing for being an organizing geek, I will share with you my *secret* for making sure all of your addresses are changed: Make a spreadsheet. Check off when you request an address change, then when you actually receive mail at the new address.
Do you have anything to add? In particular, I’d like to hear from anyone with employees or a litigation-based practice, as I have neither and I expect there are things I didn’t think about with regards to each.
Once all of my address changes have gone through (so I know I haven’t missed anything), I’ll make a downloadable checklist for practicelaw.