The Key to Increasing Lawyer Productivity

lawyers can increase their productivityThe following is a guest blog post by Ritu Goswamy, Esq. Ritu is a lawyer, author, and legal productivity consultant. Ritu’s first book, The New Billable Hour: Bill More Hours, Be More Productive, and Still Have Work-Life Balance, is available for free by emailing her at ritu[at]newbillablehour.com.

“Productivity” is defined as the measure of output per unit of input. To get an increase in productivity, you need greater input efficiency. Here’s how lawyers can apply this principle to increase their productivity and make their practice more rewarding on every level. Continue reading

5 Ways Lawyers Can Maximize Their Time

lawyer with time pressure and too much to doThe following is a guest blog post by Ritu Goswamy, Esq. Ritu is a lawyer, author, and legal productivity consultant. Her New Billable Hour™ system allows lawyers to expand their time by billing themselves first. Ritu’s first book, The New Billable Hour: Bill More Hours, Be More Productive, and Still Have Work-Life Balance, is available for free by emailing her at ritu@newbillablehour.com.

As lawyers, we may think that there’s not enough time to get everything done. When we feel like we’re “spinning out,” learning the latest time management hack just adds to our stress. We can’t create more hours in the day, but can maximize the hours we have. Consider these five methods to maximize the hours in a day as ways to become more aware and in control of your time. When we are in control, the “spinning out” lessens and our focus deepens.

  1. Monotask. Multitasking has been around for a long time, but recent research has shown that trying to do more than one task at a time actually hinders productivity. An article from Time goes so far as to say that multitasking is bad for us, because we’re wired to be monotaskers. We need to learn to tackle one task at a time.
  2. Take breaks. You’ve heard it before, but really, take more breaks! It’s best to proactively take breaks instead of unconsciously falling into energy-draining, time-wasting activities. For an energizing break, you could breathe, take a walk, or hydrate.
  3. Slow down. When you’re rushing around and feeling stressed, time gets wasted because your brain isn’t functioning at its best. You end up attacking the project or task that screams the loudest to you. Hint: That project isn’t usually the most important and can wait. When you feel rushed, take a deep breath and regain your composure. Then you’ll be able to clearly see what really needs to be done next.
  4. Prioritize. Face it, you won’t get through your full to-do list today, tomorrow, or anytime soon. A list is important to track what must be done for your cases, business, and career, but most lists just drag us down. Lighten things up by putting deadlines in calendars, using case management systems to track cases, and setting aside time for big projects that never seem to get done. Each day choose one to three difficult tasks that must be done that day. By prioritizing those tasks, you’ll actually get them done, and will feel like you’re making progress on your list.
  5. Value your time. To maximize your time, you must value it. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, how do you want to spend them? When you have a certain amount of cash in your pocket, you consider the best way to spend it. Value your time the same way. As you make choices throughout your day, consider whether you’re spending your time in a way that aligns with your core values. For example, the core value of compassion for self and others could guide you in how you use your time.

By valuing our time and ourselves we can approach tackling our days from a centered place. When we then act from that place we can maximize our time and feel more in control of our lives and our law practice.

Feeling stressed in your law practice? Check out these CEB programs to help you balance your life: Avoiding and Addressing Attorney Burnout, Renewal Retreat 2017: Hit Refresh on Your Practice, and Mindful Law Practice.

Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:

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Divorce Is Not Any Easier After Trump’s Tax Cut

wedding cake split apart to show divorce and split of assetsThe following is a guest post from Ed Lyman, a trial and appellate attorney at Walzer Melcher LLP who handles complex dissolution of marriage and domestic partnerships for high net worth individuals.

Family law attorneys and accountants are struggling to grasp the impact of the GOP’s tax overhaul on divorces. The biggest changes that affect divorcées is the repeal of various deductions, the creation of new ones, large tax cuts for business entities, and eliminating many exemptions. These changes require special attention when calculating alimony, child support, and division of marital assets. Continue reading

Don’t Let Your Ethical Duties Get Lost in the Cloud

The following is a guest blog post by Perry L. Segal, an attorney and management consultant at Charon Law, Redwood City. Mr. Segal has over 25 years of combined experience in law and technology. He is co-chair of the California Council of State Bar Sections, special advisor and past-chair of the Law Practice Management and Technology Section Executive Committee, and a member of the bar’s Social Media Task Force.

Few technologies create more puzzlement and worry for attorneys than “the cloud.” Attorneys, quite reasonably, want to know how they can stay on the right side of their ethical obligations when it comes to using it. As always, attorneys need to practice in accordance with the standard of reasonable care and effort. But there’s a caveat: Attorneys will be charged with the standard of an attorney who is competent in the understanding and use of technology. What does this actually mean? And as a practical matter, what can an attorney do? Continue reading

Don’t Let Fake News Cynicism Get in the Way of Your Social Media Evidence

The following is a guest blog post by Michelle Sherman. Michelle is the author of Winning with Social Media—A Desktop Guide for Lawyers Using Social Media in Litigation and Trial, a 2016 publication from the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. She has tried civil and criminal cases and is currently an in-house corporate legal counsel. She also is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

For anyone who likes to wake up on a Sunday by reading the newspaper, it’s a sad day that legitimate news organizations are under attack and the term “fake news” has become associated with them. Beyond the personal implications, this may also have negative effects on your law practice. More skeptical jurors may mean that you have to work harder to authenticate documentary evidence, particularly social media evidence.
Continue reading

Using Video to Brand Yourself and Connect with Clients

The following is a guest blog post by Nicole Abboud, Esq.  Ms. Abboud is a Millennial speaker, former practicing attorney, producer and host of The Gen Why Lawyer Podcast, and founder at Abboud Media—a video branding and marketing agency for lawyers.

Your potential clients are online, searching for answers to their legal concerns by consuming digital content. Videos are one way they seek answers. In fact, with over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos watched per day and YouTube ranking as the second largest search engine on the web, it’s safe to say that video is a highly effective way of reaching potential clients. Continue reading

Yes, California Employers, It Really Is Time to Update Your NDAs

The following is a guest blog post by Tyler M. Paetkau, Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau, Redwood City, CA. Tyler represents employers in all aspects of employment and labor law, including counseling and litigation regarding trade secrets and unfair competition.

Now is a particularly good time for California employers to update and revise their agreements with employees respecting trade secrets and other confidential and proprietary information (NDAs), based on several recent, noteworthy legal developments. Review your NDAs and make these three changes. Continue reading

Tips for Doing Pro Bono Work from Someone in the Trenches

thinkstockphotos-178363193The following is a guest blog post by Richard M. Wilner, a founding shareholder and chair of the  Employment-based Immigration Practice Group of Wilner & O’Reilly in Orange County. Together with his partner Kelly S. O’Reilly—a former immigration officer—he helps lead a team of 14 lawyers dedicated exclusively to the practice of immigration law.

The great Winston Churchill said “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” Consequently, I believe there is no group more deserving of my time, at no charge, than the men and women who serve in the United States military. Whether representing military clients or otherwise, here are some things I’ve learned from years of doing pro bono legal work. Continue reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cultivating Clients in the Marijuana Field

thinkstockphotos-597927996The following is a guest blog post by Allison B. Margolin, a partner at Margolin and Lawrence in Los Angeles. Ms. Margolin practices criminal defense and civil litigation in both state and federal court.

California’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana has attracted people from all walks of life to the industry. In turn, this will bring new clients to attorneys. But before you represent clients in marijuana-related businesses, consider these tips. Continue reading

Under New Law, You Have the Right to a Reporter at Arbitration

thinkstockphotos-117631992The following is a guest blog post by Joseph A. Goldstein. Mr. Goldstein is a litigator with The Goldstein Law Firm, representing employers in labor and employment law disputes, wage and hour class actions, and business disputes. He authored the resolution that ultimately became SB 1007.

Effective January 1, 2017, SB 1007 amended the California Arbitration Act to provide that any party to an arbitration has a right to require the presence of a certified shorthand reporter to transcribe at any deposition, proceeding, or hearing. CCP §1282.5. This law is important because it provides the opportunity for litigants to create an appellate record as well as increases transparency in the arbitration process. Here’s what you need to know about this new law. Continue reading