When you work in the legal industry, you often can expect high volumes of work. Sometimes it may feel like there is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything on your to-do list. Individuals may find small ways to increase their productivity, but to implement better productivity habits across an entire firm is much more of a challenge.
Setting and accomplishing goals efficiently and effectively is essential to driving productivity in a law firm. By eliminating time-consuming distractions that keep you from achieving your priorities, you’ll not only increases productivity, but also maximize your budget. Even if you believe your law firm is already operating at peak productivity, it’s important to center in on opportunities to accomplish even more in less time.
At Special Counsel, we can do more than help you bring highly qualified legal talent in house; we also house expansive legal expertise honed from decades of supporting top law firms and legal departments across the country, and we share this expertise with you to give you a competitive edge. Based on this experience, we have some proven tips you can use to enhance your legal productivity and become more efficient while decreasing costs and maximizing your budget in your law firm or organization.
Tips For Making Structural Changes To Maximize Productivity
1. Having The Right Tools Make All The Difference
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” –Abraham Lincoln
When it comes to productivity, each legal professional must locate the tools — and refine the practices — that produce peak results for his or her working style. Experimenting with tools (project management apps, refined technology, etc.) is the simple part — often producing an influx of immediate productivity gains.
Technology surely comes at a cost. Thus, not every software, app, tool or platform is the right solution for every challenge or every law firm. Before jumping on board with one technology or app that solves one goal, perform the proper research to potentially locate a multi-tiered platform that can manage several elements that will not only be easier for your team to adopt, but will save you money in the long term as well.
If long-term productivity gains are what you’re focusing on, those improvements cannot be achieved just with new tool experimentation. These substantial results come from adopting best practices for managing your work and by putting a customized system in place for your specific needs.
2. The Right Person For The Right Job
Executing your goals is both a mindset and a calculated approach for managing commitments, information and communication. When practiced conscientiously, getting things done frees one’s mind to hone in on productivity — and to avoid disruptive tasks. If you are paying your attorneys to perform duties that can be conducted by paralegals or legal assistants, you are probably paying an unnecessary premium.
Experienced and knowledgeable legal support professionals can handle many of administrative and operational tasks that your junior attorneys may be pursuing today at a fraction of the cost. Plus, by utilizing support professionals consistently, you can allocate lawyers to focus on high-value, high-grossing priorities. By installing the right person for the right job you can also reduce your attorney headcount – and contain attorney-staffing costs.
The benefit of a legal operations manager: These legal professionals focus solely on the fundamental operational activities that typically fall outside the scope – and strengths – of a traditional law firm’s managerial team. By having someone on board dedicated to these tasks, you can continually acquire operational efficiencies and maximize budget throughout the year without distracting you from your core focus – winning clients and cases.
3. Tracking Productivity Metrics=Tracking Expense Metrics
In order to make continued improvements in productivity, a systematic approach to tracking metrics is vital. Hours-tracking data is useful for showing patterns, which can also inhibit motivation. Also, make a habit of capturing a note at the end of each day, summarizing your accomplishments and noting patterns — both positive and negative — that can serve as a ledger guide to refine your productivity practices.
Expenses can get out of hand quickly if they aren’t being tracked. Many firms and departments wait until the end of the year to dissect their books and attempt to understand their financial situations. However, at that point, it is too late to make corrections and implement process improvements.
If you have in-house accountant or finance experts in your firm, speak with them to find out how you can gain real-time updates into your financial situations. If not, explore technology options that can accurately track, maintain and report at all times.
Get more expert advice for increasing productivity.
For more proven tips you can use to contain costs and improve operational productivity in your law firm or department, contact your local Special Counsel office.
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