Lawyers juggle between multiple tasks during a workday and find themselves constrained for time.
It does not involve whether one is a litigating lawyer, a corporate lawyer or someone undertaking an In house role. The legal profession is growing extremely demanding. Lawyers often work 12-14 hours a day. Pulling all-nighters is very traditional. Whether you do litigation or work for a law firm, getting work is usually not a predicament if you are any good. The query is getting all the work done.
Every minute saved counts for a lawyer.
A lawyer who becomes more effective by using new technology becomes more competitive and enjoys a better work-life equilibrium. But what are the technologies that can help one to balance a lot of different work at the same time? There is an infinite list really. However, I am going to introduce you to some amazing software, some of which you might already be using, and the rest you need to try out.
How to use speed reading to save time
Lawyers read a lot of commentaries. Whether it is going through many case files to prepare for cases or proofreading multiple contract drafts and documents, reading takes up a major chunk of a lawyers day. What if you could read three times faster? Wouldn’t that solve a lot of your intricacies and free up some time? Remember that speed reading is not scooping. It’s actually reading it all at a much faster speed.
Have you listened to stories about Swami Vivekananda about how he could read a page at 1 glance? There are many personalities in the world who can do it, and they learned it through practice. There is no mystic concerned, it’s just a skill called speed reading.
Apps like ReadMe! and Spreeder can considerably enhance productivity in terms of saving reading and comprehension time. They can help in teaching the mind to read and comprehend quickly.
Remember, it’s a skill. Just like you require to work out in the gym to increase your strength, agility or fitness, you need to train your eyes and brain to speed read. There are apps that can help you with such training.
Google using syntax
Legal research and legal writing are two skills that are extremely important in a lawyer’s day to day work. Of course, there is database software but we don’t need to tell you about them. Nevertheless, interestingly, most lawyers do not know how much they can customize their google search.
I am going to share a link with you, just run through it and check if you know these Google tricks. I bet if you take out some time to learn these tricks you are going to save hundreds of hours in the next few years as far as research is concerned.
How to write or draft faster
Lawyers do a lot of writing. It is an inevitable part of the work. Writing work includes a range of work from writing briefs, drafting to taking notes on the go. There are distinctive writing situations in which different apps are going to help.
- First of all, you need a general note taking app on your mobile. Lawyers process a variety of information during the day. It becomes quintessential to write things down. My favorite is Google Keep because I can use it from my computer as well, share with people, change colors, set alarms.
- An app like Evernote is useful for writing long notes and articles while an app like Google keeps shows handy for writing short notes and jotting down quick pointers.
- Some lawyers also have a flair for writing research papers. My favorite for writing a research paper or article is Google Document. It is not only free, but it is also amazing as you never lose anything you have written in google docs, not even if you lose a processor, burn your hard drive or delete a file by mistake – something that used to occur to me a lot until I moved to Google Docs. Also, you can pull out your mobile whenever you are free and start working on your article/paper, which is a big advantage.
- You need a solid grammar and editing software. I can suggest Grammarly. Premium subscription is heavily recommended for professionals with a reputation to protect.
- As a lawyer, you must study to touch type. I have seen a law firm partner rejecting a law school graduate for PPO simply because the person used to type too slowly. Sure, the guy eventually discovered to type fast and got a job at another law firm anyway, but if you type with two fingers slowly, it does not earn a very good impression. There are paid software like Typsey, Animal Typing etc, which I think are excellent investments and will save 100 of hours for you in the years to come. You may be able to find some free software too, and try to learn DVORAK which is an efficient keyboard.
- If you are not using voice typing, then you are spending a great opportunity to save your time. Virtual keyboard arrives with an option for voice typing.
How to save time through delegation and better work allocation
Lawyers rarely work in isolation and are usually needed to cooperate with many diverse people from other lawyers, clients, to support staff. They work in teams so work needs to be chosen setting out proper accountability and reporting framework.
The software has made this method amazingly easy and powerful. If you are not already doing it, please view using project management software. They will increase output, increase accountability, reduce the lack of communication, make a lot of meetings, conversations and calls useless and thereby make your life a lot better.
You can allocate a task to your team and even build orders of who will do what and when and after what. This is called a workflow, and this can be designed using an app with a basic free version possible is airtable.
Leading a team becomes amazing with a tool like Asana. You also save a lot of time that people differently waste in back and forth calls and email exchanges.
Use timer and blockers for your work, reduce distraction
Specific time blocks must be allocated for a particular activity. Many time tracking apps include a characteristic known as Pomodoro timer which helps to focus on an urgent task with a countdown. This is assumed to be an intense working session of usually 20 minutes followed by an immediate mini-break.
Track your time and see where it is going
Time tracking apps also help in analyzing how you are using your time. I use Smarter Time, paid version. This helps you to know how to recover your empty time.
One may also register similar tasks together for increased efficiency. Apps can also be used for setting good work routines and habits. App for work habit estimate like toggle can be used to do work mindfully.
Declutter and manage your Inbox better
Writing emails can take a chunk of time from a lawyer’s day. Replying to multiple client queries, handling workflow emails over a team of lawyers can result in giving away your peak performance time to unproductive tasks.
Apps like a boxer, Sanebox can help in organizing and managing your inbox better. Such apps also sync your email id with your calendar and contacts. SaneBox uses artificial intelligence to sort the inbox based on the relevancy of emails.
Stop back and forth for scheduling meetings
Use a meeting scheduler app like Calendly for scheduling meetings. For this, people can see your open slots and book one. You can save tonnes of time if you are someone who needs to regularly scheduled conferences or calls with clients or co-workers.
Legal case management software
Lawyers and law firms handling volumes of cases must use case management software to organize, check hearing dates and retrieve case status and related information. Good billing software is also crucial for many lawyers and consultants.
How to stay in touch with your network without wasting a lot of time on social media
Lawyers and law graduates alike are posting useful legal content through blogs and programs like Twitter and Linkedin. It is an amazing way to become an “influencer”. The social media following definitely helps the career of a lawyer. Useful legal information is disseminated to a wide range of audience.
Nevertheless, you must take care to not get sucked into the vortex of social media and waste hours. The best way to post in many social media at once is to use apps like buffer and dlvr.it
Create a single feed from many different apps
An app like Taco can be combined over 30 different apps to create a single feed of your to-do list and scheduled tasks across apps.