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Time Management Tips for Legal Professionals

Work Faster and Smarter

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Time management skills are crucial to success in the legal profession. With staff cuts and pressure to lower fees, lawyers and legal professionals today must work faster and smarter than ever before. Here are a few time management tips to help you manage your time and work more efficiently.

1. Create Checklists

Create checklists for every case or transaction on which you are working. Checking off items on your lists as they are accomplished is not only satisfying, it can help you track what is complete, what tasks are outstanding and what items need follow up.

2. Use Tickler and Docket Systems

Don’t rely on your secretary or paralegal to advise you of important deadlines. Whether it is old-fashioned 4X6 index cards or an electronic tickler program, you must develop an effective system to track dates and deadlines.

3. Create a Forms Database

To streamline time drafting documents, create a forms bank for documents you frequently create and for those you may need to draft in the future. If you’re still in school, you can start saving your school work product. If you work in a law firm or corporation, comb the firm’s paper and electronic files to compile a database of forms most useful to your practice.

4. Set Priorities

Establish a priority list at the beginning of each day or week listing the tasks you plan to accomplish, their order of importance and an estimate of how long each task will take. Meet briefly with your supervising attorney to confirm what he or she wants to accomplish so you can prioritize those items properly.

5. Delegate or Outsource

Delegate tasks to other staff members, when necessary, or outsource them to an external vendor. Delegating internally or outsourcing externally will free up your time to devote to your most pressing tasks.

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