Solo lawyers run their own show and wear many hats, while also facing several challenges. But of all the challenges, time management just might be the most difficult to handle.
To give your practice the best chance of success, you must be efficient, meaning you achieve maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. Here are a few tips to help keep your overhead low and your efficiency high.
Batching and Automated Tasks
- Batching: Doing similar tasks in one sitting instead of spreading them out. For example, creating one month of social media posts at one time instead of creating them daily.
- Automation: A series of “if this, then that” triggers that either happen automatically with the use of software, applications, plugins, etc., or manually based on a set of rules you implement.
Email Tips and Tricks
Email can take up your entire day if you let it. We know because we’ve been there. Here are a few practical tools that you can incorporate with your email to make sure your day isn’t consumed by it.
- Set up filters: Create email filters that will automatically sort your incoming emails into predetermined folders that you set up. This will declutter your email and help to ensure that nothing gets overlooked, as well. For example, client emails immediately go to a priority inbox where I see them right away, while notices about bills go to another folder that I deal with once a week.
- Canned responses: Stop wasting time by sending the same exact email over and over again. There is a Gmail application called Canned Responses that allows you to create those responses in advance and plug them in when you need them. Then, you can quickly customize them as necessary instead of starting from scratch each time.
- Boomerang: This is a Gmail application that allows you to set emails to send at a later date, reminds you if important emails you sent haven’t been responded to, and reminds you to respond to important emails you receive.
- Unroll.me: This tool compiles all of the email subscription lists that you’re currently on and will allow you to unsubscribe from each list. It also sends those that you do want to keep in one, easy-to-skim daily email. Helping to cut down on the junk mail that always seems to clutter your inbox.
Practice Management Software
The right practice management software can make all the difference for your firm. It enable lawyers to stay on top of every detail, reducing the likelihood of malpractice. In addition, this software helps keep clients in the loop, preventing complaints.
There are several tools built specifically for lawyers and their practice management needs. At OAMIC, we believe in them so much that we have partnered with Clio to provide our insureds with a 10% discount on Clio software.
Stop the “when are you free?” back and forth madness of scheduling appointments. Whether it is with your staff/colleagues or clients, this is one of the most frustrating and least time-efficient processes ever. Instead, did you know that you can just send someone a link that will let that person pick a time on your calendar to meet or speak?
There are several tools that let you do this. Some of these tools include Calendly and Doodle. People can put themselves on your calendar directly. Doodle allows you to send a quick poll, whereby people can pick from dates and times you set. Plus, these tools then merge directly with many calendar systems, such as Google or Outlook, to automatically show your availability.
Big swings in your law firm’s workload are difficult and expensive to manage. Peak times can stretch internal resources over the limit, leaving you scrambling to keep up with the workload. Slow periods mean that the cost of typists/staff underutilized, full-time staff erodes your profitability.
We have partnered with SpeakWrite to assist in tackling this particular problem. Our insureds receive a 7% discount for the life of your account. You can dictate by phone, app, digital dictation device, or by using SepakWrite’s software. All you do is submit your transcription and have their team deliver it to your inbox.
Again, there are many practice management software platforms out there. Do your research, and get one that works best for you and your needs. Many of these systems require a time investment up front and some tweaking along the way. So, try not to get frustrated and give up. Your practice will thank you for it in the long run!