By Guy Dawson, CEO
Time is finite.
We all have the same quantity.
It cannot be enlarged or extended.
It is set and settled.
So the use of our time, effectively or clumsily, productively or wastefully, differentiates between good outcomes and modest ones. Many of us say: How can we do more when we work all day already? This fails to appreciate that it is the effective use of time, not just time spent, that counts.
So, the question is how to use time effectively?
Not surprisingly it starts with spending no time at all on work through automation.
Interactive data bases populating pre-written letters and documents with automatic entry of accounts to client ledgers. Sublime – concentrate on the law not the production. Introducing such a system is astonishingly time saving to those who have not experienced it before.
It progresses to introducing a system that provides direct access to information that may be needed to find an answer to a legal question or to a practice or procedural issue without any time spent looking for it. Information retrieval can be a major, time-consuming activity in all but the rote work in a practice, and even then there are occasions you need to look something up.
Having established a sewing machine system for handling matters, attention needs to be given to the time spent in communications with staff members, particularly in dealing with the many questions that arise each day such as customer complaints, wage increases and holiday rosters. By having in place a management system that deals with the various office policies and procedures, and that is accessible, and readily understood, by all staff is a major time saver. It also empowers staff members by providing them some independence.
The nature of legal practice is such that no one has the time to devote to administration unless it is critical. Despite good intentions the only consideration given to time usage is at best occasional, when forced on the principal, usually in situations such as a failure to meet a time constraint.
In a truly contradictory fashion time spent on the practice, which is largely seen as the most non-productive expenditure of time is in fact the most productive time saving activity of all!