Life Hacks for Every Attorney: The Value of Transfer and Automation

As an attorney, you’re consistently juggling a multitude of responsibilities. Undoubtedly there are many moments that are stressful. Why not explore some ways to alleviate that stress? We’ve put together a list of ways to transfer some responsibility in addition to ways for automating some of the routine processes in your average work day!

 

Transfer of responsibility

  • Hire a secretary / personal assistant / intern

People normally wince at the idea of hiring someone to keep them organized. However, the amount of relief this brings will be invaluable. You wouldn’t believe the amount of time you would save by simply having someone take on the responsibility of answering your phone and/or lightly vetting potential clients. If hiring someone is not an option, bringing on an intern might be. Interns can do the groundwork of obtaining necessary information for your cases so you have more time to focus on the most important components. In addition to that they bring high energy at low cost to you.

  • Outsource

Completing things like lead research, similar case research, the position judges have taken on particular cases can be outsourced to research agencies. From this you can get the public information you need while you hone in the confidential information. It’s okay to let go of some of the responsibilities on your plate, it allows room for more growth on behalf of your business and most importantly you as a professional. Granted, this is much easier said than done but after you reap the benefits of letting go of something on your list, it will begin to get easier as time goes on.

 Automation

  • Using software to schedule your social media posts

There is a plethora of options when it comes to social media management and building them into your workflow can be life changing. It saves HOURS worth of time in terms of planning and posting on social media. It is very easy to jump down a rabbit hole when managing and engaging on social media, so do yourself a favor by cutting down on that time and organizing content for the coming weeks. Not only does this give you breathing room but it also builds out a road of branding that you can manipulate how you see fit as opposed to building on the fly.

  • Email plugins to schedule your response / update emails

Email is always a constant responsibility that looms over the heads of professionals. You never realize how much time you spend responding to emails until you realize half your work day is already gone and you’ve spent the entire time clearing your inbox. Plug-ins that allow you to schedule when your emails will be sent in response helps on a massive scale because it removes the obligation of responding in the moment. In an effort to avoid sending emails at 11:00 pm, instead you can write out the response at 11:00 pm and schedule the email to be sent at 9:00 am the next day. The presence of plug-ins like this transform the way you approach your hours of productivity. These plug-ins exist across most of the mainstream email services (Google, Yahoo, Aol, etc.)

These days it seems like 24 hours is never enough time but with these tools you may start to think that 24 hours is more than enough! Change the way you approach productivity and invite delegation and automation into your operation. Not only will your future self appreciate this, the tools will also be instrumental in building out workflows for your growing practice.

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Choosing your clients carefully

Deciding whether or not to take on a client is one of the most important decisions you make as an attorney. There are a vast amount of considerations people will tell you to make when deciding to take on a client and if you took the time to adhere to all of them, no decision would be reached. So I’ve come up with a list of 3 considerations you should have at the back of your mind when trying to decide whether or not you are going to represent a client.

Ability to Pay

This consideration may seem like a no-brainer but it wouldn’t be on this list if it was not a frequent problem. You’ll want someone who is straightforward in terms of what they can and cannot afford. This will help in determining whether or not their expectations align with their budget in a realistic fashion. Sometimes clients assume that they do not have to pay the established rate if they do not get the results they desire. Despite how long your relationship with the client will be, you will want to put yourself and your firm in a position that ensures success. And a large part of this assurance is linked to laying out realistic expectations after the client has given you the necessary background information.

 

Mutual Respect

Yet another no-brainer, but what many forget to realize is that people are often in a bit of a fluster when it comes to seeking legal representation. Dealing with any kind of situation in the court of law can drain a lot of energy, cause anxiety and be very expensive. Having said that, it is not uncommon for clients to place a very large amount of pressure on attorneys because of all that is tied to the experience. The very application of this pressure could be accompanied with abrasive and sometimes rude interactions. Do not, I repeat, do not subject yourself to that kind of treatment from a client. You as a service provider are doing your best to nurture their trust and represent them to the best of your ability. Respect and trust within your expertise should be packaged in the agreement and should be present from the beginning.

Their Pitch

There should be an expectation that a client will omit some information that you may later find important when handling their case.However, outside of this, if you begin to notice inconsistencies in their stories throughout the first few meetings, this is generally a big sign in terms of how the experience representing them will be. So take note of any questionable aspects that seem to be making your work a little harder. Of course, context is very important and naturally some situations elicit more emotions than others. Nonetheless it is very important to sift through that to ensure you are getting a consistent story.

Managing a case can bring a slew of difficulties all on its own, you don’t want a difficult client layered on top of that experience. And always remember that vetting your clients is just as important as potential clients vetting you as a possible attorney.

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Practicing Law on Your Own Accord

Is starting your own practice something you’ve always been interested in pursuing? Oftentimes, the answer to that question is yes for high performing professionals practicing law. The biggest appeal of having your own practice is the freedom and flexibility it offers. Operating from wherever your heart desires in addition to having complete oversight on the clients that you agree to represent all sound amazing as well but they do come with their trials (pun intended). For many, the initial stresses that accompany starting your own practice are well worth the freedom and flexibility that quickly follows.

If starting your own practice does not peak your interest, all is not lost. There are many ways one can take more control of the way they practice within an established firm. Practicing law on your own terms within a firm might seem like a far-fetched idea, but there are many ways you can squeeze increased flexibility into the work you do. Get into the right circles at the office and start suggesting increased flexibility to serve as a means of alleviating depleted engagement and/or productivity.

Practicing law on your own terms doesn’t just start and end within the office, the relationship with your clients is always another environment that offers opportunity for you to shape the way you practice. It is not uncommon to have cut-off times for when a client can reach you, even attorneys need time to themselves and it is okay to create that time. Granted, the way you navigate your relationship with your client may be subject to a certain degree of oversight depending on the firm. Naturally, staying within these guidelines but do not be afraid to explore the flexibility within them.

We as professionals find it very easy to become borderline obsessive with our careers, rightfully so considering our livelihood is attached to it. However, what is not attached to it is your health and happiness. There will always be things that we have to do that are the opposite of enjoyable, but they should not outweigh the amount of things that you do enjoy doing.

The most important factor in all of this is the fact that taking control of the way you practice allows the real reason why you decided to pursue a career in law to come to the forefront and shine like never before. Whatever passion you have that is tied to practicing law may be drowned in long drawn out work processes that take up more time than the component that you enjoy the most. Every attorney has a different balance when it comes to how they want to practice law, you just have to find yours and lay out a game plan for pursuing the balance that’s best for you.

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Gaining Autonomy in the Workplace: Law Edition

More autonomy is almost always ranked when it comes to surveying what attorneys desire within the law firm. The wide array of benefits that come with increased autonomy for attorneys in the work place: more flexibility in work style, increased fluidity in work processes and the most important benefit being increased morale and happiness within the firm. We are all too familiar with the stresses that come along with attempting to stay within the guidelines of company workflows, especially when you know of a more efficient and optimized method.

Being an autonomous lawyer is often likened to being a trailblazer. The one adopts a creative take on the law practice, they are much less likely to be confined to the very nature of a law firm that makes it a draining environment. When achieving success in your creative ventures within the firm, leadership will begin to accept your creativity as your method of servicing your clients.

As time goes on, not only will leadership be down your neck less, you will also begin to inspire other attorneys within your firm which transforms the firm’s overall culture.

More importantly, everyone has different work styles and as attorneys, the work you do is incredibly important. Therefore, you should be able to work in environments that are flexible enough for you to integrate the work style that’s most efficient for you and your clients. The increased efficiency and productivity can have profound effects in every professional environment you’re a part of.

This post is designed to inspire you to take that next step in trail blazing a new path for your personal practice within your firm. There is always going to be push back hence challenging the status quo. However, if you open the eyes of leadership to new workflows and efficiencies, this creates a plethora of opportunities for both transformation and advancement. You create opportunities for more than just increased autonomy when you explore creativity in the workplace.

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3 Ways to Build a Career in Law that Makes You Happy

It’s no surprise to find that more and more attorneys are looking for ways to increase happiness in their profession. Whether you are on your 1st or your 20th year as an attorney, happiness is essential in maintaining a long and successful career.

Studies have found that the happiest attorneys have created an environment within their profession that combines their passions, their best qualities and desired lifestyle.

More and more attorneys are beginning to question whether or not happiness is achievable in their profession and the answer is, and always has been, yes! The cornerstone for achieving it lies within your passion. What pushed you to become an attorney? What was the foundation for your motivation when enrolled in law school? What was the aha moment that led to your decision to become an attorney? Answering any of these questions will begin your mental pursuit to rediscover what your true passion is in this profession, bringing you one step closer to happier work days!

 

“What are your strengths?” You most likely answered this question in countless interviews when trying to start your career. But now that you’re established, when is the last time you answered that question? Like many things in life, we change and grow over time. Therefore, the strengths you have now may be different from the ones you had in the past. Learning what your new strengths are can reveal something new in your profession that you can excel in that you may not have noticed before.

Your desired lifestyle is essential to how you build your career. We all have visions for how we want to live and the steps to get there may seem overwhelming at first but it is definitely possible. As an attorney it can feel like you are always at the mercy of your client. In many situations that may be true. However, there are countless ways one can practice law. Finding a method of practice that conforms to you is very important in achieving happiness within the workplace. You do not have to stick to the status quo work-life balance that is expected or envisioned for attorneys, find and stick to what works for you!

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How To Successfuly Implement Knowledge Management In Your Law Firm


Knowledge management in law firms plays a key role in winning and maintaining a business on the whole. As information is collected, it must be categorized and tagged so that it can be efficiently retrieved when it is needed. As the base of knowledge continues to grow, it can be indexed in such a way as to create a network of information that can be used by everyone in an effective and productive manner. Read on to learn more about how to successfully implement knowledge management in law firms.

Structure and Organize Information

The structure of the knowledge management system allows for new information to be collected through research and study. Once it has been collected, it is then tagged and indexed so that pieces of information can be drawn from different areas of the system to create documents or files that contain specific information.

Apply Knowledge Management Disciplines

Research and collaboration are just two of the disciplines that are used to build a knowledge-based system. Knowledge management is developed over time and involves the efforts of everyone within the law firm. Everyone in the office has something to contribute when building this complex and diverse collection of knowledge.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Technology isn’t the most important part of knowledge management, but it is the vehicle that moves the system forward. Not only does technology help to organize and structure the information, it is also the most effective way of retrieving and sharing it. Essentially, technology and knowledge management in law firms go hand in hand.

Remain Committed to Your Goals

With knowledge management, remaining committed to your goals of developing the system is the key if your firm plans on using the system successfully. From its collection
to its distribution, knowledge is the foundation the law firm is built on when it comes to developing sound and relevant cases.

Knowledge management in law firms provides a base of information that can be used to build and eventually win the cases that are developed in the office. When effectively utilized, knowledge management produces a successful outcome for everyone who uses it.

Professional Meeting Venues Add Value to Case Discussion


The meeting venue is an important aspect of a case discussion. Face to face meetings can
bring a lot to a case discussion. With a neutral meeting venue, the meeting is more likely
to be productive, allowing both parties to accomplish their goals in an efficient manner.

How to Choose a Neutral Meeting Venue

So how do you choose a neutral meeting venue that is perfect for your case discussion or
other types of litigation? Think about these questions when selecting the venue for your
upcoming meeting:

● Is the venue big enough to fit all your participants?
● Is there a provision of food at the venue?
● Does the venue fully support your technological requirements?
● Is the location of the venue conveniently accessible?
● Is there a provision for logistics storage?
● Will your meeting materials be prepared beforehand or at the location?
The following details are just a few of the benefits of selecting a neutral meeting space
for a case discussion or other types of litigation.

● Minimal Accommodation Distractions
Hosting a meeting comes with a variety of tasks such as preparing a room and
putting together snacks and drinks. You will have fewer of these responsibilities
when you meet somewhere else, enabling you to put more attention towards the
litigation itself.

● Fewer Interruptions

The breaks that you have during a case discussion should allow you to clear your
head and take a few minutes to regroup. If you’re meeting at your home, there is
a greater likelihood of having family members trying to talk to you during these
breaks about topics that may have nothing to do with the litigation at hand. While
it is possible to get interrupted at any location, there will be fewer interruptions
from staff when you’re away from the office.

● No Expectation to Provide Copy Services

Many people agree to host a meeting without realizing that it will mean providing
copy services to the attending counsel. This may not seem like a big deal, but
secretaries and assistants have better things to do with their time. Having the
meeting in a neutral location minimizes these expectations.

● Ease of Commuting

The meeting venue, when conveniently located for your participants and within a
fair distance helps avoid excessive travel and saves the attendance from the
undue pains of commuting.

● Good Customer Service

It helps to make sure that the venue is responsive to your needs before the event.
Having sufficient support staffs on location when the event is taking place will
ensure that you and your attendees’ demands will be responded in a timely
manner.

Digital Recordings vs Court Reporting

With today’s advanced technology, many attorneys and legal establishments are choosing to eliminate the human factor and record the majority of their cases and hearings digitally. This option is cheaper in terms of man-hours but can be incredibly costly when it comes to accuracy. Even court reporters are beginning to use digital recordings. In most cases, though, they use the digital advantage as a backup.

Digital Recordings

Digital recordings provide an accurate account of everything that has been said during the course of an interview, interrogation, or testimony. Video recordings can capture facial expressions, gestures, and other visual elements that a voice recorder does not.
When digital recordings are used, the equipment must be properly maintained so that it continues to function properly at all times. It’s also important that the equipment is monitored throughout its operation to make sure that there are no glitches or \malfunctions that could cost you valuable information.

The Advantage of Having a Court Reporter

There are advantages to having an actual court reporter on hand to transcribe a hearing or other legal meetings. Using a court reporter not only ensures accuracy throughout meetings or interviews, it also allows for mistakes or malfunctions in equipment to be corrected as they happen. No information will be lost and there will be no fear of lapses in recording time.

Another benefit of having a court reporter do the transcribing is the fact that everything will be captured. The spoken word, inflection or tone, and any visual cues will be recorded as they occur and placed in the notes creating an accurate and complete record of the session.

Digital Recordings vs. Court Reporting

While digital recordings are a good choice in certain situations, having an actual person on hand can mean the difference between an accurate transcription and a complete transcription.

Digital recording is an excellent option if there is no way for a court reporter to be present. When a court reporter is available, however, employing the human factor may make all the difference between an accurate recording and one that is not only accurate but complete and concise as well.
In reality, blending the two concepts will provide the best of both worlds.

How Attorney’s Are Choosing A Court Reporter

Certifications and Memberships

Look for a court reporter who is both certified and a member of professional organizations. This will give you a good indication of their credibility and commitment to providing quality work. As a member of a professional organization, court reporters must adhere to a specific code of conduct.

Availability

It’s essential that the court reporter you choose offers flexible hours and is available when you need him/her. This is especially true if there comes a time when the need arises outside of regular business hours. Having a court reporter who is available whenever they are needed can be extremely beneficial.

Experience Level

Look for a reporter who has experience in both courtroom and deposition settings. This allows you to use the same person for both types of jobs. Ask around to see who other legal professionals use. Most of them will be willing to share the names of the reporters who are hard-working and professional.

Unbiased Approach

In the legal field, it is essential that the court reporter you need is neutral and
impartial. Find one that does not have an affiliation with either party so that
there is no question about the accuracy of the files and credibility of the reporter.

Turnaround Time

Most court documents are time sensitive and have deadlines attached. Choose the reporter who has a reputation for being on time and consistent when turning in their work. Try to search for a company that offers a guaranteed turnaround time that meets your expectations.

Effective Communication

It’s important that the lines of communication are always open. This allows you to get answers to your questions when you need them, not when it’s convenient. Whether it be by email or phone, choose someone who is always responsive to your needs.

Perks of Being A Court Reporter

Many people don’t know what a court reporter is and even more so have  never even heard of a court reporter. I would say court reporters have one  of the neatest jobs ever, but I may be a bit bias. Let me tell you some of the  great perks we have and you be the judge.

1. Depending on how hard you work and how often you are trying to grow  yourself as a court reporter, you could be presented some awesome  opportunities. History is made every single day in courtrooms, how  awesome would it be to be part of it.

2. You work on your own time 90% of the time. As an independent  contractor working for a court reporting agency or even your own agency,  your work schedule is on your own time. Of course you’re only paid for jobs  you do so flexibility and availability are the key to success. There are also  plenty of government entities with a set schedule if you’re looking for a  more stable schedule with benefits.

3. Court reporting allows you to have your space and be social. You’ll meet  a ton of people – lawyers, paralegals, witnesses, and judges. You will hear  everyone’s business and learn a lot. While it’s obvious that you must remain  unbiased and more or less seen and not heard during official proceedings,  you still must build and maintain relationships. If your turnaround time is  fast and court has never waited on you, you can guarantee yourself more  jobs to come.

Those are just a few awesome perks of being a court reporter. If you’re  interested in becoming a court reporter, do some research and give it a try.