MyCase, an AppFolio company, offers web-based legal practice management software for the modern law firm. MyCase was acquired in 2012 by AppFolio, the leading provider of web-based software for vertical markets.
Ready or not, 2019 is just around the corner. No doubt you’re in the midst of 2019 planning for your law firm. After all, what better time than now to get your law firm positioned for success in the coming year?
If streamlining your law firm and increasing productivity is one of your top goals, then the MyCase webinars from the past year are a great place to start! If you’ve attended a few of them, you know how helpful they can be. And if you missed some, never fear! We record each and every webinar and share them on our blog, so it’s not too late to watch them and learn everything you need to know – straight from the mouths of legal industry experts – to help you get your firm off to a strong start in the new year!
So, without further ado, here are descriptions of our webinars from the past year so that you can choose which ones to watch over the holiday break. In no time flat, you’ll be well on your way to creating a solid 2019 business plan for your law firm!
Money out the Window: How to Measure Your Marketing ROI for Lawyers
In this webinar, Stacey Burke, lawyer and law firm business consultant shares her marketing wisdom and shows you how to work within your budget to create marketing initiatives that actually bring clients through your door.You’ll learn how to: 1) Select the right marketing vendors for your practice, 2) identify the ROI metrics that directly affect your firm’s bottom line, 3) track ROI efficiently for both online and offline expenditures, and 4) set a baseline for your marketing ROI.
Signposts of Antiquity: When to Move Your Practice to the Cloud
In this webinar, Heidi Alexander, lawyer, author, and Director of the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program offers advice on boosting your law firm’s productivity and staying compliant with the latest ethics standards. Among other things, you’ll learn about: 1)The benefits of using the cloud to store and access law firm data, 2) how to vet cloud providers and ensure that they’ll keep your data secure, 3) how to make a fortuitous transition to the cloud, and 4) what security precautions to take to ensure the security of your data.
Fixed Fees – Ditching the Billable Hour
In this webinar, Debra Bruce, President of Lawyer-Coach LLC and seat holder of the Law Practice Management Committee of the State Bar of Texas explains how, with a little legwork and diligent planning, you can move away from hourly billing and better manage your law firm’s finances in a way that fortifies your client relationships going forward. She’ll teach you: 1) The logistics behind making fixed fees work for your practice, 2) the ethical rules that impact fixed fees, 3) how to make fixed fees more profitable, and 4) how, why, and when to involve your client in determining the fixed fee.
Practicing at the Top of Your Law License: How to Build Efficiency and Make More Money
In this webinar, Jared D. Correia, lawyer, CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, and legal advice columnist teaches you how to make more money by increasing your law firm’s efficiencies. You’ll learn how to design your practice in a way that promotes efficiency by: 1) Effectively delegating to your staff, 2) developing multiple workflows, 3) using technology to streamline your processes, and 4) automating everything you can.
LinkedIn, There’s Something Different About You
In this webinar, Nancy Myrland, President of Myrland Marketing & Social Media and Founder of The Lawyer’s Marketing Academy shares the ins and outs of interacting on LinkedIn for lawyers, a social network where many attorneys are connecting with clients, potential clients, influencers, and others important to the growth of their practice. From this webinar you’ll learn: 1) How to leverage LinkedIn’s latest updates, 2) the ins and outs of the platform’s newest marketing tools, and 3) how to increase your law firm’s visibility to potential clients.
Turning More Traffic Into Fees
In this webinar, lawyer and co-founder of AttorneySync, Gyi Tsakalakis explores some of the most common issues that prevent law firms from turning traffic into clients. Gyi covers a host of topics, including: 1) how to identify conversion issues, 2) 3 of the most common conversion issues encountered by lawyers, 3) a strategy for fixing conversion issues, and 4) tips for benchmarking and improving conversion rates.
Ethical and Practical Guidelines for Use of Social Media
In this webinar, Dustin Cole, President of Attorney Master Class, shares 5 practical principles for ethical and effective social media marketing. He reveals how ABA Model Rules 7.1-7.6, Information on Legal Services, apply to your activities on social media and then explains: 1) Who you should be communicating with, 2) what your messages should be, 3) when you should communicate, and 4)
where you should post.
Roadmap to a Paperless Law Firm
In this webinar, attorney, author and founder of PaperlessChase, Ernie Svenson shows you how to leverage technology to streamline your firm’s workflows and document access. He’ll guide you through the process of creating an efficient paperless law firm. You’ll learn: 1) The biggest myth about paperless lawyering, 2) which documents you MUST keep in paper form, 3) the top 5 benefits of a paperless law practice, and 4) how to start transitioning (the answer may surprise you!).
Tips for Automating Your Law Practice
In this webinar, Heidi Alexander, lawyer and Deputy Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, explains how automating tasks can help you save time, reduce mistakes, enhance client service, and improve your bottom line. Watch now to learn: 1) The basics of law firm automation, 2) the processes in your firm that can and should be automated, 3) the top automation tools for lawyers, and 4) how to implement automation tools in your practice.
Rebuild Your Law Firm Processes with Law Practice Management Software
In this webinar, lawyer and CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, Jared D. Correia, teaches you why reformatting your law practice based on the features of a law practice management system is a coherent and effective way to build a better law firm. He’ll focus on the 5 key aspects of practice management that can be addressed through the consistent use of a law practice management system and you’ll learn how to: 1) Create a better client communications system, 2) build a paperless document management program, 3) develop staff workflows, 4) author billing and collection protocols, and 5) project revenue and create goals using report tools.
Unlocking the Mysteries of Google Scholar
In this webinar, Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch, President and Vice-President of Internet for Lawyers walk you through the ins and outs of conducting free Internet legal and investigative research using Google Scholar. You’ll learn to: 1) Conduct legal research using Google Scholar case law and articles, 2) create targeted keyword/phrase searches to improve your research, 3) speed up your searches with advanced filters and a hidden search feature, 4) conduct investigative research into parties, judges, attorneys, and expert witnesses as well as helpful non-law topics.
So what are you waiting for? 2019 is just around the bend and you’ve got planning to do! Watch a few of these webinars and get ready for the new year. And don’t forget to enjoy the holiday season while you’re at it! You’ve worked hard all year and deserve a break. Here’s to wishing you and yours wonderful holidays and a successful 2019!
In the wake of the news last week that European researchers discovered major vulnerabilities in the PGP email encryption standard most often used to encrypt email, what’s a lawyer to do? After all, secure client communication has become all the more important since the release of the ABA’s Formal Opinion 477 last year, in which the Ethics Committee concluded that unencrypted email may not always be sufficient for client communications. Specifically, the Committee advised that lawyers must assess the sensitivity of information on a case-by-case basis and then choose the most appropriate and sufficiently secure method of communicating and collaborating with clients. Options offered included encrypted email and “the use of a Virtual Private Network, or another secure internet portal.”
In other words, now that encrypted email is in question, secure client portals, like the ones built into law practice management software, are becoming even more appealing. Sounds interesting, right? But maybe you’re not as up-to-date on the ins and outs of client portals as you’d like to be. Never fear! This very topic was covered earlier this year at the ABA Techshow in Chicago. During this presentation, “Using Client Portals for Effective Collaboration With Clients,” Jim Calloway and Brooke Moore discussed everything you need to know about using client portals in your law firm.
Email is inherently unsecure
At the outset, the speakers stressed the security issues inherent in email. They explained that when you use unencrypted email to communicate with clients, it’s no different than leaving your confidential client files unattended on a park bench. The lack of encryption means that anyone interested in viewing the contents of the email and any attachments can easily do so.
Another problem with email is that you never know who has access to the emails. Employers or disgruntled exes can easily access emails, read, and copy any confidential emails sent to your client. That’s why client portals are a better, more secure way to communicate with clients.
The many benefits of online client portals
According to the presenters, client portals offer a host of benefits that make them a much better communications tool for lawyers. And security – certainly one of the most important features – is just the tip of the iceberg. Online client portals also offer convenience, easy accessibility, and collaboration features.
Some of the most notable benefits were discussed by the speakers and include:
Easily accessible via a direct link from any internet-enabled device
Built-in ability to share information and documents
Enhanced communication capabilitiess and threaded, easy-to-read discussions
Streamlined communication and collaboration increases efficiency
24/7 convenient access to information
Choose the right portal technology for your firm
Of course, choosing the right client portal tool for your law firm is key. That’s why the presenters stressed the importance of carefully vetting the provider that offer a client portal, which is more often than not a law practice management software solution.
When choosing a law practice management provider whose software includes a client portal, there are a number of areas to focus on in order to ensure that you choose the right tool for your firm. The presenters offered the following tips to help guide your selection process:
Make sure to demo the software and take advantage of any free trials offered
Have a thorough understanding of the features that are most important to your firm
Ensure that the software is intuitive and efficient
Last but not least, it’s important to ensure that firm employees and your clients are fully on board and understand how to make the most of the client portal. You’ve invested in a time-saving tool for your law firm, but it will go to waste if no one takes advantage of it.
For your firm’s employees, make sure that they understand the features of the client portal software and how to integrate the portal into their workflows. Provide them with guidelines designed to help them implement the portal into their daily routine. Rest assured, the time spent at the outset to educate them about the benefits and features of the portal will pay off tremendously in the long run and help your firm realize the value of its investment.
With clients, it’s important to encourage portal use at the very start of each case. Explain how the portal will benefit them, stressing the security features, the ease of use, and 24/7 access to case-related information. Provide them with a guide that showcases the main features of the portal and explains how to use it. As the presenters explained, don’t mandate use of the portal, but emphasize that if the portal isn’t used for communication, response time will necessarily be slower. Finally, encourage them to dive in and use it, while stressing that the portal is for their benefit and is easy-to-use and convenient.
Client portals are designed to be intuitive, efficient, and secure – that’s why they’re the wave of the future. Once your clients and employees login and are able to easily access and share information, they’ll quickly realize the value of using it to communicate. You might just be surprised at how quickly they adapt to it! And then, before you know it, your law firm will be well on its way to taking advantage of the many benefits that client portals have to offer.
Practicing at the top of your law license means that you’re focused on doing the creative and analytical work that lawyers get paid to do. It means you’re not getting paid to answer phone calls. You’re not getting paid to schedule appointments with clients. You’re not getting paid to get coffee for someone. You ARE getting paid to perform high level work: creating strategies, crafting briefs, and advising clients.
In essence, focus on getting paid for the work you were hired to do. In this MyCase webinar, host Jared Correia outlines strategies to restructure your office in a way that promotes efficiency and ultimately bolsters your bottom line.
Jump to a Topic
3:45 – Go Paperless
As long as lawyers still traffic in documents, storing everything in disparate systems will slow down any practice. Learn how to aggregate all the case information you need to run your practice efficiently with the right hardware, software, and processes in place.
11:25– Embrace the Cloud
Non-location dependency is a strong suit for any law firm. If you can get all your software and tools in the cloud, you’re going to be ahead of the game.
16:34 – Streamline Your Administrative Processes
Reduce inefficiency with client portals, electronic payment processing, and administrative workflows. Adopt these solutions into your business for the benefit of both you and your clients.
27:10 – Banish the DIY Mentality
The first thing many lawyers need to do is get over the mindset that nothing can be delegated. Believe it or not, a lot of people can competently perform some of your daily tasks.
This post is an excerpt from “Simple Lessons To Improve Your Law Practice And Your Life” by Nora Bergman.
Nowadays, most of us – not just lawyers – suffer from a bit of self-induced ADD. We are constantly bombarded. Years ago, the focus was on email interruptions. Now we’re inundated with updates, sports scores, and stock tickers. On top of that we have Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, all of which are a constant bombardment on our brain.
The truth is: when we try to pay attention to everything, it’s very, very difficult to pay attention to anything. When everything is important, nothing is important.
You may notice that it’s very hard to stay focused on any one thing for any length of time. That is due to, at least in part, the number of interruptions that we deal with throughout the day.
The Unprecedented Cost of Recovery Time
Recent studies in neuroscience show that the average knowledge worker — like an attorney — is interrupted every eight minutes. Another sobering statistic: It can take your brain up to 20 minutes to recover from an interruption. This includes stopping whatever you were doing when you were interrupted and dealing with the interruption — whether it’s an email that catches your attention, a staff person, another lawyer standing in your doorway waiting to ask you a question, or a phone call. Whatever it might be, after dealing with the interruption, it takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to recalibrate.
Think about the math: a needless interruption three times a day adds up to one hour a day. Over a 48-week year, that’s 240 hours or six 40-hour weeks that may be lost to interruptions.
Task completion suffers
Studies show that a person who is interrupted takes 50% longer to accomplish a task. Not only that, they make up to 50% more errors. Even if the work that you’re being interrupted with is billable, the likelihood is you’re going to have some problems getting that work done.
Keep in mind that interruptions are a two-way street. Oftentimes you’re the person interrupting your paralegal, assistant ,or associate when they’re trying to get work done. Interruptions are prevalent in every law firm both up and down the chain of command, whether it’s assistant to attorney or attorney back down.
Billable interruptions aren’t exempt either. See if that’s not true for you. You get interrupted with something. You deal with that interruption. You want to get back to what you were doing, and you completely forget to even make note of what you were interrupted with.
The truth is, there’s a much, much more effective way to work – and that is to strive to limit needless interruptions.
1) Eliminate Interruptions with a Time Template
Time templates let you determine what emergencies are. Let’s presume you have a window of a few hours in the afternoon blocked off as production time — wherein you’re not to be interrupted. If something isn’t a true emergency or fire that you have to put out immediately, it’s safe to say that it can wait.
Emergencies worth an interruption could be:
A call from a judge.
A call from opposing counsel on the very matter that you’re working on in that production time.
An emergency with your children or family.
A call from one of your best referral sources.
An A+ client whose call you always take.
The goal is to have a short emergency list. That way you won’t leave your team guessing about whether or not they should interrupt you. You need to clearly communicate to them that when you’re in production time, these are the only calls that I will take and these are the reasons you can interrupt me. If it’s not on this list, it can wait until I am out of my production time.
2) Keep an Interruption Log
So how do you start to get even more control over needless interruption? First, identify the interruptions at their source by keeping an interruption log. You can do this on a legal pad. The goal is to grasp the severity of your interruptions as well as where they’re coming from.
Keep an interruption log for three days. They don’t have to be consecutive days. In that log, note whether interruptions are internal or external.
External interruptions act on you rather than vice versa. This could be a phone call coming in that you weren’t expecting or someone walking into your office unannounced to ask you a question. It could be an email or a text.
What are internal interruptions? Think of them more as distractions. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re not very focused and boredom gets the better of you so you check your email or Facebook just to mix things up? Those are both external and internal because you’re distracting yourself.
In your interruption log, note the following:
External or internal.
Time of day.
When did this interruption occur?
What time of day did it occur?
How long did it last?
Was it a true emergency, or was it something I would call a needless interruption?
Pay attention to when these interruptions are happening throughout the day. You might begin to notice some patterns, especially with internal interruptions. For instance, it may strike you that every day at 3 pm you’re either checking email or you’re going to the kitchen to get something to drink. Your body may be telling you that you need a break at that time, so pay attention to those cues.
If you have writer’s cramp by 10 in the morning on the first day that you’re keeping an interruption log, you’re probably dealing with too many needless interruptions. But you can learn a lot from that log about where your interruptions are coming from. And by homing in on that you’ll begin to really start taking control again.
The key word here is control. Make sure to schedule focus time when you will be interrupted, unless that interruption is something that you have identified in advance as an exception to the rule.
Interested in learning more about getting a handle on interruptions and increasing your productivity? Find out more tips here.
If you want to practice law in the 21st century, stay competitive, and not lose your license, it’s imperative that you pursue technological competence. To ease you in, we’ve outlined the 8 essential technologies lawyers need to increase efficiency and productivity in a modern practice.
As an attorney, you’re not being paid to answer phones, schedule appointments, and draft simple letters. And yet, you still do those things. Or, if you’re not doing those specific things, you’re still performing low-leverage work more often that you should.
Let’s be clear: you make your money doing analytical legal work that clients are willing to pay high rates for. The more often you truly exercise your craft, the more money you’ll make. It all comes down to designing your practice in a way that promotes your efficiency.
In today’s predominantly digital climate lawyers are practicing law by virtue of tablet and smartphone. All that was once a pen and paper affair has materialized on a digital plane — and along with it, processes have been streamlined that previously drained hours from the workday.
Yet in spite of this, one of the biggest hurdles firms face to this day is getting paid. Even with modern tech solutions handling the brunt of administrative tasks, the issue persists leaving even the most progressive firms at the mercy of their client’s will.
And so with that, the MyCase team faced the reality of finding a way to motivate the clients of their customers to pay. Upon closer inspection, the root of the problem could be traced back to the approach taken in soliciting payment. Sure automated reminders helped. But compounding the problem? Forcing clients to take extraneous (or unwanted) steps to processing their payments.
Late and Defaulted Payments Solved
We designed MyCase Payments with a big objective in mind: delve into the billing and invoicing needs of lawyers and come out the other end with a global solution. And it’s here!
In response to this nagging problem, MyCase is proud to announce the release of the easiest payment method to date: a secure payment link. From here on in, your law firm’s clients are no longer required to log into a client portal in order to pay their bills electronically — they can do so directly from their email (or any preferred messaging app or SMS).
A celebratory milestone for the MyCase team, this new addition to our payments tool set has already cut the time lawyers get paid in half, further underscoring the benefits of ease of payment.
How it Works
To give you an idea of just how easy it is for clients to pay their bills with the new MyCase Payments, we’ve broken the process out into 3 steps:
You copy the client’s unique payment link from their latest invoice
You paste the link into an email, SMS message or chat and send to client
Clients click the link, and are taken to a simple, secure credit card form where they can easily pay.
That’s it. MyCase generates the link automatically and you send it on its way.
The Difference MyCase Payments Makes
To the benefit of both your and your clients, MyCase payments stresses convenience and security in equal measure with the following enhancements designed to trump standard invoicing.
1) Send invoices in the way you prefer
In as little as 3 clicks, law firms can now send invoices directly to clients in PDF form. These invoices can include a payment link if you desire. It’s fast, easy, and secure.
2) Get paid quickly without requiring additional steps from your clients
When clicked, our new payment link takes your clients directly to a unique payment page to enter their credit card info. They do not have to create a password or login. By circumventing this extra step, they’re more inclined to pay their invoices upon receipt.
3) Become more efficient with more payments reconciling back to MyCase
Whenever clients pay through their unique payment link, the action is tracked in MyCase by triggering the following automatic updates:
The specific invoice and case
Reporting & accounting
Notification activity in MyCase
And emails sent notifying of payment.
In doing so, MyCase users are always kept up to date on when the latest payments were made, who paid them, and the amount processed.
4) Stay in compliance while offering clients easy ways to pay you
Communication with clients is key. By allowing MyCase users to offer a payment method both they can their clients agree upon, law firms can establish positive rapport with their clients leading to future business.
Payment link available for copy – provided by the attorney over the phone, via text message, or through their own email client, MyCase users can send this link to clients. When clients click the link, they’re taken directly to a payment page to enter their credit card info
Payment link on PDF – When exporting invoices (to send digitally or physically) from MyCase, the secure payment link is automatically included on it for your convenience and that of the client’s.
Payment link in email body – Sending an email through MyCase now automatically includes a “Pay Now” button (when using MyCase Payments).
Best of all, the client enters their card info themselves at their own discretion. The firm never has possession in any of these scenarios meaning you’re not putting yourself at risk of breaking PCI compliance.
How to send a Payment Link via Email
With MyCase Payments, sending a payment link via email or otherwise can be done in a few simple steps. Here’s what it looks like from inside the MyCase interface.
1) After creating an invoice in MyCase, click the Email Invoice icon on the invoice header:
2) Select the recipient(s) of your invoice. You will then see a preview of the email message along with the PDF invoice attachment. Afterwards hit Send:
3) Your invoice will be emailed directly to your contact’s email address for them to review and pay.
In the early 1990s, few lawyers used email, in part because most bar associations discouraged lawyers from doing so due to client confidentiality and security concerns. Fast forward more than two decades and how things have changed! Email is routinely used by the vast majority of lawyers, and for many of them, it’s become the bane of their existence. Emails pour in daily, and staying on top of those emails and reducing inbox clutter can be a constant struggle.
Fortunately, there are strategies and tools available that will make it easier for you to take control of your email inbox and streamline the way that you handle and manage your emails. Not sure where to start? Then you’re in luck! Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you attain “inbox zero” – or at least something close to it.
Inbox zero for Gmail
Gmail is a popular email platform because it offers lots of flexibility and is easily customizable to your needs. Part of what makes Gmail so useful is the sheer number of tools available to help you manage your inbox. Here are a few of my favorites.
Streak is my most-used Gmail extension. It’s technically billed as a CRM (customer relationship management) tool, but I use it only to take advantage of 2 key features: the built-in email tracking tool and it’s “snooze” email feature.
With the email tracking tool, you can ascertain if and when an email recipient has opened your email. While this feature may feel like overkill, it can be incredibly useful. By knowing whether an email has been opened, you’re better able to determine whether you need to send a follow up email.
Next, the “snooze email” feature is one of my favorites. With it, you’re able to temporarily remove an email from your inbox after setting the parameters for when it reappears in your inbox at a later date. In essence, this feature makes it easy for you to use the email as a “to-do” that reappears in your email when you need to act on it.
Another nifty Gmail extension is Sortd. This app is essentially a skin that overlays your inbox and allows you to revise the subject line of emails and turn them into “to-dos” or add them to a “follow up” column. You can drag and drop new email tasks into Sortd, where they are then stored in a separate “skin” that overlays your inbox. At any time you can reduce the “skin” overlay view, allowing you to view only your regular Gmail inbox.
Inbox zero for Outlook
Outlook is the email platform used most often by lawyers, so if you’re one of those lawyers, there are tools available to help you reduce the number of emails in your inbox. Over at Above the Law, Jeff Bennion recommends a few key Outlook add-ins designed to do just that.
First, he suggests using the EZDetach add-in, a low-cost tool that allows you to quickly and easily remove and file an email attachment. Another useful Outlook tool that he recommends is the SimplyFile add-in. With it, emails can be filed in the correct folder with one click, so you’ll no longer need to drag and drop. This add-in also makes it easy to turn emails into tasks and appointments.
She explains that SaneBox is a great tool to help you prioritize important emails. It also allows you to unsubscribe from unwanted emails with just one-click. You can also use it to delay emails for later viewing.
SendLater is an email scheduling tool. This add-on makes it easy for you to schedule an email to be sent on a specific date and time. So even if you draft the email in the middle of the night, you can schedule it to be sent in the morning. That way you don’t have to remember to send it when you get into the office, and it’s one more thing you no longer have to worry about.
Ditch email altogether – use secure client portals
One reason it’s so difficult to stay on top of your email inbox in 2018 is because email is outdated. This is because, in many ways, email is inherently flawed. It’s a horrible productivity tool – hence all the add-ons required to increase its utility. And, more importantly, it’s unsecure and every email you send via unencrypted email is like sending a postcard written in pencil through the post office.
That’s why in May 2017, the American Bar Association weighed in on email’s lack of security when it issued Opinion 477. The Committee explained that due to “cyber-threats and (the fact that) the proliferation of electronic communications devices have changed the landscape…it is not always reasonable to rely on the use of unencrypted email.”
Instead of struggling to keep your email inbox tamed, why not switch to a more sane and technologically advanced option? Secure client portals, which are often built into law practice management platforms, are the obvious choice for 21st century lawyers. Online portals make it easy for you to securely communicate and share case-related information with your clients in a single convenient, encrypted, and controlled online environment.
So, whether you abandon email altogether in favor of a secure online portal or utilize a few of the tools suggested above, email clutter will be a thing of the past! Gone will be the days of struggling to control the influx of email. In no time flat, you’ll be well on your way to more efficient and streamlined communication for everyone involved.
Let’s face it, lawyers are busy. Practicing law and providing your clients with the best possible representation can be time consuming. Add to that the responsibilities of running a law firm, and sometimes it’s a wonder you get anything done at all!
For many lawyers, staying on top of their busy law practices can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline your day-to-day activities and create a more efficient workflow. If you’re not sure where to start, then you’re in luck. We asked the experts for some of their best productivity tips for lawyers. Read on for lots of great ideas from law practice management experts and your fellow lawyers that you can immediately implement into your daily workflow.
“According to a 2011 Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study, ‘[w]hen your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus.’ This can apply to both physical and virtual clutter. One easy productivity tip to help limit distractions and increase productivity is to set aside a mere fifteen minutes at the end of each week to spend organizing your space. This might include sorting through physical mail and trashing outdated publications and advertisements, moving physical files into a file cabinet or onto a shelf, organizing and pruning electronic files cluttering your desktop, and more. When you get back to work that next week (or weekend), you’ll be ready to sit down (or stand, if that’s your preference) and focus in on the work you need to do rather than be distracted by all that stuff surrounding you!”
– Heidi Alexander, lawyer turned law practice management consultant and author at Mass LOMAP
Maximize your law firm’s calendaring system
“Utilize your calendar as your best friend. Integrate it on your phone and in your case management software, and make sure it has alerts set up to notify you in enough advanced time to be useful. It is not just for appointments – use it for important ‘to do’ items that you don’t want to forget, whether it’s picking up the dry cleaning or responding to an email from late at night that you don’t want to get buried. For tasks like these, delete them from the calendar after you’ve done them so they don’t clutter up your records.”
“Use the cloud. The cloud lets you work from anywhere, and stay organized at the same time. When you’re on your own, you can’t make money if you’re spending your time trying to find paper copies of something at your office when it’s the weekend and you have a brief due Monday. Another tip: set up rules in Outlook. People don’t realize how destructive it is to get 100 emails a day. Even if it’s just a pop up on your screen, it takes you out of deep focus and prevents you from doing your best work. Filtering unnecessary emails into a folder keeps them from popping up on your screen every few minutes.”
“Template Phrases is an add-in to Office 365 that allows you to create pre-set responses for phrases that you use often for emails and other documents. So when you’re sending an email you can simply click on the template phrases add-in and the drop down menu will provide you with phrases you’ve created to choose from. Findtime is another add-in to Office 365 that is a lot like Doodle and allows meeting attendees to identify dates and times that work for them. It’s a huge timesaver because it helps you avoid the time-consuming back and forth of emails when trying to determine a meeting time that works for everyone.”
– Rochelle Washington, Senior Staff Attorney for the DC Bar Practice Management Advisory Service
“Reduce needless interruptions! It takes your brain up to 20 MINUTES to recover from each interruption you deal with during the day. Schedule uninterrupted time in your calendar (30-90 minutes); stick to it; and watch your productivity soar.”
– Nora Bergman, Nora Bergman, law firm business coach and author of “50 Lessons for Lawyers”
In our latest webinar, “Simple Lessons To Improve Your Law Practice And Your Life,” Nora Bergman, law firm business coach and author of “50 Lessons for Lawyers,” discussed strategies to help solo and small firm lawyers increase their productivity.
She explained how your daily, hectic routine can often take over, making it difficult for you to assess the efficiency of your law firm’s processes. The good news is that things can change – you simply have to take the right steps! And in this webinar, Nora offered advice on exactly how to go about it.
Interested in learning more? Then make sure to watch a recording of the webinar and view the slide deck below, where you’ll learn:
Why there’s no such thing as time management
How to get in the habit of planning
How to limit interruptions and focus on what’s really important
Why taking a break is good for your brain and your productivity