As most lawyers are high achievers there is a tendency to over commit, resulting in work overload and dissatisfied clients. Then there are the inevitable interruptions in the day that interrupt our precious time management planning, not to mention the additional pressure of the high risk and value so often attributed to the caseload. So it is time to take back some control.
Think about when you are most productive – morning, afternoon, evening – use that time most effectively. This will also help when you look at where you need structure to your day (or restructure) so that your time is less fragmented – both of these measures require effective planning and organisational skills. With clients, avoid over committing – it’s always too easy to do, remember clients are interested in quality not speed, not promises that can’t be delivered.
This is difficult and there are always so-called obstacles that often are excuses about doing the job best yourself, etc. If you are fortunate enough to have the resources to delegate work, then use it, most people are happy to take on more responsibility and variety. And for more junior lawyers, working for different partners or associates, then you need to be communicating when there is a potential conflict with the demands of your time, be proactive and ask for guidance when prioritising. This alone helps you to develop negotiating skills and again adds value to the work you are doing
How do you compete with the technology geniuses that are the newly qualified and lower level qualified lawyers are generally the ones with the most up-to-speed IT skills – it’s up to you how you market this, how you use this to manage time, and ultimately to save time? Look at what you are doing and how you are doing it. Clarity about your objectives in all areas – whether internal firm meetings, meetings with clients, the delegation of workload and what you expect this to achieve – this will smooth out the processes – takes time to set up and initiate, but saves time in the long run.
Finally, adding value to the service offered by improving the quality of service can be more visible to clients, and can be as cheap and simple as adopting a more responsive approach.
Senior Marketwatching | People Development - The most important asset to a business