From the continuous flow of queries to the clients who call you requesting suggested changes to a court document just hours before it is due to be filed, life in a law firm can be anything but dull.
While it can be exciting to have lots of things going on at once, getting through it all efficiently can be a significant challenge. If you often feel like you are getting nowhere fast with your legal workload, it’s deserving to consider viewing your workplace productivity.
In this blog, we illustrate how focusing on productivity can help you in many ways to increase efficiency and eventually improve your performance. We also outline five workable tips that you can adopt to help you boost productivity and reach your absolute potential.
When lawyers execute smarter techniques to increase their productivity, everyone can benefit, including clients, the firm as a whole and, of course, the individual lawyers themselves.
This is exactly the fact with fixed-fee work. The nature of this work model means that regardless of whether the project in hand takes an hour or a day, the cost you can bill is still the same.
Boosting productivity makes it possible to get through your workload more efficiently. This increases your capacity, enabling you to handle a greater volume of cases— and ultimately increase your billing figures.
Missed limitation dates and other important deadlines are among the most common causes of lawyer negligence. Other causes of complaint include rushed, poorly drafted documents, failing to identify key issues (defective title in a lease, for instance), and failing to provide clients proper advice.
There is much greater scope for error if you are snowed under with work, especially when constantly switching between files. Implementing ways to operate more efficiently and productively allows sufficient time to consider the major issues linked to individual files in more detail. This helps reduce the chances of important points being overlooked.
Streamlining regular and repetitive tasks gives you more time for what’s really matter, especially when it comes to building and sustaining relationships with your clients. Rather than trying to usher clients out of the door subtly, productive working practices can mean more time to devote to consultations. This can also include spotting opportunities for cross-selling more additional services throughout your law firm.
Let’s say you have a long, complex project that you are not looking forward to tackling. Especially with a large caseload, procrastination becomes far too easy, as it’s always possible to find excuses to put off the big, tricky job at hand.
To become more productive and break the ‘force field’ that can develop around difficult files, you first need to find the right motivation. Psychologists refer to it as Goal-Setting Theory: the concept of splitting tasks up into specific goals. A series of bite-size tasks tend to be much easier to approach than a wide-ranging project. As such, greater use of mini-milestones could be just what’s needed to improve your workflow.
Kanban boards give a visual overview of the entire workload and its various stages. By creating a Kanban form for “all” tasks (tasks often held in a team member’s head or on a screen), the Kanban board allows a visual representation of every invisible piece of work.
This enables team members to see the status of tasks easily, collaborate with other team members, and for managers to have an overarching view of the project progress as a whole.
Traditionally, a Kanban board was a series of columns jotted on a whiteboard or paper with sticky notes as the tasks. However, today’s agile lawyers rely on online law practice management systems like App4Legal. These digital tools give you quick access to your case details, due dates, tasks, invoices, and much, much more.
Productivity can suffer if you have to keep breaking off tasks to deal with incoming communications. That’s why, for both emails and routine telephone calls, it’s a good idea to set aside several blocks of about 30 minutes each to respond to messages.
You should find that it’s a lot more efficient to respond to these messages in batches rather than sporadically. Also, if you spread these blocks of time throughout the day, it still means that you are responding promptly to incoming communications.
From client care letters and contracts right through to pleadings, document templates are a must for any lawyer who wants to boost their productivity and increase efficiency.
Templates save you time by removing the need to re-enter the same text into multiple documents, reduce the scope for error on matters that demand standard wording while still providing you with the flexibility to tailor the document to your client’s specific circumstances.
Sometimes though, there can be so many templates in play within a law firm, searching for the right one can be something of a barrier to productivity in itself. To increase efficiency, make sure your templates are centrally stored, logically organized and named, and that out-of-date versions are removed. This helps ensure less time wasted searching for documents, meaning more time putting them to work.
With case management systems, all your client information is kept on a single database. Most of these systems also feature automated document generation, helping you reduce the time spent on routine caseload legwork, potentially freeing up time for more profitable tasks.
This is where App4Legal can be especially valuable. With it, you can digitize all the documents linked to the case into a single manageable file. App4Legal saves you time and energy and allows you to focus on what matters, i.e., your legal work, analysis, and law practice.
Moreover, managing your tough workload more efficiently can also help your stress levels, allowing you to be a better lawyer, and protect your health.
To find more information on how you can boost your productivity and other problems affecting the way you practice law, get in touch with our legal tech experts and get a Free Legal Tech Consultation.