When lawyers get together, it can be overwhelming. The papers pile up in stacks, the phone calls and emails continue, and the work just doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Attorneys find themselves spinning many plates at once, having to juggle dozens of tasks at once, with deadlines, meetings, paperwork, emails, and clients all demanding attention. If you’re just beginning in the law field, either currently employed in an in-home legal job or you’ve been in the industry for quite a while but want some tips on staying organized, then this article’s for you.
One important tip for the law practicing attorney is to use more than one set of books or notes. While keeping papers organized and easily accessible will make your job simpler, it isn’t the only practical to-do. Many law offices have found that dividing up the large amount of papers and tasks among a handful of legal pads has been the most efficient way to handle their routine tasks. If there is one thing to remember when doing your own organization, however, it is that you should always attempt to treat each task as a new challenge.
Lawyers who find that staying organized means dividing papers into categories may find that by grouping related tasks into groups, or “tasks,” will help them keep track of their productivity and progress. For example, a legal assistant who has several clients to handle in a given day may find it useful to group these clients into “montage,” “asset,” and “defendant.” This system allows the attorney to know which papers need to be filed or processed immediately, and which must wait. By using this same system when filing documents or responding to email notifications, the attorney can maximize his or her productivity while ensuring that he or she does everything the law requires.
Lawyers who are dealing with the burden of endless work related to multiple clients may benefit from making a few simple organizational changes. Lawyers should create a system that makes it easy to identify which tasks are most important, urgent, or of little importance. Not only does this allow the lawyer to focus his or her time and attention on the most important tasks, but it will also help them save time by reducing the number of tasks that are accomplished in a given day. In order to keep track of tasks that are not necessary, some lawyers create a to-do list. This to-do list should contain the most important tasks, then broken down further into priority order.
Lawyers who use a time management tool to organize their workload may find that avoiding distractions and setting goals helps improve their productivity. To do this, a lawyer can make a list of the most important tasks, then mark them off as being less urgent than other tasks. For example, an email notification sent to the law firm manager at 3 p.m. may be of greater importance than a letter that is sent to a client’s secretary. By blocking out non-urgent tasks, the time management tip mentioned earlier may become more useful. In addition to blocking out non-urgent tasks, a lawyer can assign someone to check his or her email for urgent information rather than sending it to the secretary.
In addition to using time management tips, lawyers should also develop a plan for each major project. Lawyers should include in their daily schedule a time and date for meetings with all representatives of the opposing party. They should plan a time to meet with potential witnesses as well. The meetings should be kept to a minimum so that the attorney does not become distracted and spend extra time on unimportant tasks.
Lawyers should also have a schedule for important tasks that are not time sensitive. This may require the attorney to write a brief report on a specific day, set a due date for things done, but make sure the report is filed. By using an appropriate time management tip, lawyers will increase productivity and reduce their likelihood of being late with important tasks. These are time management tools that lawyers should use to help them stay on schedule.
Lawyers also should consider how they handle emails. One way to increase productivity involves keeping the law library organized. Lawyers should keep all documents in file folders so that they are easily accessible. This can also help them get rid of unnecessary distractions such as cell phones and other electronic devices. By avoiding interruptions from these things, people in the office can more efficiently complete important tasks.