Updates and advice for attorneys and law departments.

Addressing Time Management With Your Team

Does your team manage their time well?

Time management is essential for lawyers, yet it’s not a skill that is often taught at any stage of a lawyer’s education. Instead, attorneys are expected to learn time management on their own, often under immense pressure.

Consequently, many legal teams don’t manage their time as effectively as they could. Here’s how to help your team improve their time management skills.

1. Clarify your own expectations.

Start by asking yourself why you feel that your team, or certain members of your team, have poor time-management skills. Does the teamwork frantically until the deadline? Do meetings always start five minutes after the scheduled time? Does a particular team member always ambush their co-workers with last-minute “emergencies” that result solely from poor planning?

2. Explore solutions.

Once you know what kind of time management you want and where your legal team is falling short, you can identify the cause of the problem and seek solutions.

For instance, if your entire team is always scrambling to meet deadlines, review timesheets to determine whether the team has adequate time to review and prepare for those deadlines. Evaluate your case volume against your existing staff to see if you need to hire additional help.

Don’t forget to consider the type of work your team scrambles to complete, as well. Complex cases or specialized legal issues may require more time and attention from your team.

3. Review the environment.

Any legal team will lose considerable time if the office is disorganized or if distractions abound. To improve time management, improving the work environment may be necessary.

Look at the level of distraction in the office, including your team’s ability to focus when needed. If necessary, rearrange offices or have sound-mitigating items installed to help reduce noise distractions. Review organization processes, and update these if necessary.

In the case of a law firm, reducing distractions and improving organization can not only improve time management, but also a law firm’s bottom line. When your legal team spends less time looking for files or running new copies of misplaced documents, they have time to spend on handling your clients’ needs. They also save resources. Both of these can result in considerable savings over time.

4. Seek help where you need it.

When teams struggle with time management, it may be a sign their workload is unsustainable. Over time, an unsustainable workload will lead to reduced quality of results and, eventually, burnout.

Working with a temporary attorney is one way to create a more sustainable workload for your team. A temporary attorney can help your team manage a large project or take on specialized tasks, so your core staff can focus on what they do best.

At Assigned Counsel, we understand the unique challenges law firms and legal departments face when seeking talent. Our recruiters’ experience as practicing attorneys gives us an inside perspective on the demands of legal practice and the value of qualified help. To learn more, contact us today.


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