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

Do You Know When an Oral Fee Agreement is Enough?

lawyer trying to remember all of the circumstances in which an oral fee agreement is okayAlthough you should always memorialize your attorney-client fee agreements in writing, there are some limited circumstances in which an oral agreement covering attorney fees is legally permissible. How many of those circumstances can you identify? Continue reading

5 Things to Include in Your Email Policy

sending protected email between attorney and clientOne of the first communications you should send to a new client is your email policy.  Explain the dangers involved in emailing privileged information and tell them what precautions to take. Continue reading

How to Drop a Prospective Client Who Doesn’t Pay Your Retainer

Thumbs down icon for turning down a clientYou meet with a prospective client and explain that you’ll need a initial retainer fee to get started. The prospective client doesn’t pay the fee and you’re pretty sure this will be a pattern, so you decide not to take on this person as a client. Now you’ll need to inform him or her in writing.

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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3 Tips Before Starting a Law Practice

Particularly in solo and small law practices, income growth typically is irregular and for the most part slow in the first year of practice. Before you decide to go solo or join a new practice, do some financial planning and consider these three tips. Continue reading

How to Cover Costs in Your Fee Agreement

money in hand representing costs attorney can recoverIt’s not just attorney fees that you need to discuss in your fee agreement with your client—make sure to cover costs, including whether you’ll advance them. Here are the basics that you need to know, including sample language for your agreement. Continue reading

3 Ways to Deal with Client Conflicts

attorney's hand up in stop gesture because there's a conflict of interest between clientsA prospective client comes to you and you discover that there’s a conflict of interest with one of your current or former clients. Or while you’re representing a client, a conflict arises with another client. You’ve got three ways to deal with these types of situations, depending on when the conflict comes to light.  Continue reading

Don’t Forget to Include Client Responsibilities in Your Fee Agreement

lawyer handing fee agreement to client with provisions setting out responsibilities of lawyer and clientYour attorney fee agreement should not only state your responsibilities as the attorney, it should also include a provision setting out the client’s responsibilities. Check out these sample provisions. Continue reading

How to Build an Effective Ethical Wall

With attorney movement on the rise between firms, it’s critical that attorneys and firms pay close attention to conflicts of interest that can come up when attorneys in practice for years are integrated into new firms. When a conflict is identified, firms can use ethical walls to prevent breaches of fiduciary duties and big hits to the firm, including disgorgement of attorney fees, malpractice claims, and loss of clients. Continue reading