Practice Tip: Corporate Snapshot
Fred Hutchison , Amalie Tuffin and Cammie Bright – Hutchison
Our firm has developed a simple Excel workbook that we use as an electronic minute book and a quick reference for the current status of each client company. The workbook gives us a snapshot of the company and that’s what we call it, the Corporate Snapshot.
It begins with the minute book. Like many firms, we stopped using physical minute books years ago when all documents became electronic. However, in the intervening years our electronic document collection has become unruly. Each board and stockholder action is saved as a separate document. Even with folders and file naming conventions in our document management system, we still find it difficult and time consuming to gather all those separate documents into a chronological view of the actions of the company. The Snapshot is simply a spreadsheet that gives the vital info for each board or stockholder action (date, consent, executed, etc.) and a hyperlink to the actual document in our system. We also include a hyperlink to each exhibit.
We have found this method much faster and more precise than trying to organize all the documents into a bookmarked pdf or re-naming all the documents so that they come up in the same search in our document management system. We generate another spreadsheet in the same workbook for the charters, bylaws, state qualifications, etc. And these two spreadsheets make up our electronic minute book.
Along with the minute book, we include a spreadsheet for the company’s General Information such as name, billing code, entity type, state and date of incorporation, responsible attorney and paralegal and hyperlinks to the stock ledger and cap table.
Another spreadsheet allows us to easily determine the current officers and directors along with their email addresses.
Additional spreadsheets give us the equity holders’ contact info and hyperlinks to any material transactions or documents.
Together, these simple spreadsheets can bring an attorney up to speed quickly on a client if they are new or asked to step in for a colleague. Everyone in the firm is encouraged to store client contacts and email addresses in the Snapshot. The paralegals are responsible for keeping the Snapshots up to date. Generating Snapshots for existing clients can take hours. But the time is worthwhile since it insures accuracy and saves time repeatedly searching for documents and information in the future.