Time management is critical for any law firm owner or manager. The reality is there is always lots to do. Law firm managers need to keep all kinds of balls in the air at the same time. They need to worry about their legal work and their employee’s performance. Is the work by employees competent, communicative, and diligent? Law firm managers also need to worry about the daily operations of their law firm. How is it being managed? Is there an effective strategy for time management for lawyers?
Law firm managers also need to worry about the administrative side of their law firm. From the copy machines, computers, and postage machines, is it all working? Are all administrative manners being streamlined in an organized manner?
Of course, they also need to worry about marketing. Marketing cannot be put on the back burner. And, recruiting the best talent when positions are open is crucial for a successful law firm.
Firm managers and owners also have a life. They need to be able to get out of the office to spend time with their families, take care of things at home, and/or other perform important tasks outside of the office. For many, time constraints can be overwhelming. In many instances, it might feel like it is too much to handle.
Five tips for effective time management for lawyers:
Delegate, But Verify – To succeed as a law firm manager or owner, you cannot do it all yourself. At the same time, you need to verify that the task was done appropriately. So, be sure you are putting systems in play to ensure that you are delegating, but not doing so blindly. Instead, you are delegating, but verifying that the task was done.
Cut Needless “Time Suck” Activities – Are there things that you are spending a lot of time doing that are really not helping your law firm run efficiently. Certainly, networking and socializing might be important. But is your networking and socializing paying off in a way that you can measure? Or, has it simply become a giant “time suck” that is not equating to measurable results? If it simply a “time suck,” consider cutting it off. You do not have the time to waste when your law firm has other more important items that demand your attention.
Fire Problematic Employees – Managing law firm employees can be tremendously difficult. Certainly, law firm managers and owners should try to coach employees who want to do good work for the firm. On the other hand, if the motives of some employees are not positive, and/or the effort put into coaching certain employees outweighs any positive contribution they could make, let these employees go. Problematic employees can result in a tremendous amount of wasted time and frustration.
Hire Administrative Staff – Many law firm owners and managers want to do it all themselves. Or, they want to hire one office manager and allow them to handle the administrative side of their law firm. Versus trying to do it all yourself or putting it all in one person, think about dividing these responsibilities up. Have somebody in charge of human resources, marketing, intake, client care, finance and simply delegate to them, but again verify that they are performing their job roles.
Implement a Closed Door Policy – Many law firm managers or owners insist on having an open-door policy. But an open door policy results in the law firm manager or the owner simply fielding questions from employees all day long. And it does not allow them to get done what they need to get done. It also impedes the ability of employees to investigate solutions and/or problem solve on their own. Instead of an open door policy, provide set times where people can ask you questions (but for an emergency) and keep your door closed.
Time management is just critical to the success of any law firm manager or owner. These five steps should help move you in the right direction.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.