Lawyers, Utilize your Tools – Software

Shocking news: the legal profession is filled with Luddites.  There are firms that still use WordPerfect.

Hold on. Soak in that news.

WordPerfect. That’s right.

Now that you’ve been thoroughly shocked, let me move on to the point of this post.  Knowledge of the firm’s software, including Office, is directly proportional to productivity.

Take the Time

I know that time is money (as discussed in the last post), but putting in time to learn your software on the front end, saves you an incalculable amount of time on the back-end.  So suck it up, sit down, and learn your software. Read a book about Microsoft Office, take a class, ask your assistant. I promise you, someone is willing to sit down with you to teach you how to be more effective.  The problem is, you will need to make time to do it.

Learning Your Firm’s Software

Your firm probably has a case management system that allows everyone to see what everyone else is working on in a case.  Learn this software.  Become proficient.  Just because your paralegal knows how to use the system, does not get you out of having to learn it as well.  Let me give you an example:

Your day has been insane. You’ve gotten a million emails that all need to be filed in the case management system. “But I don’t have time for this. It’s such a slow process. I’ll just do it later.”  Fast forward a couple of months, and you’ve asked your paralegal to find “that one email.”  She’s looked over and over again and can’t find it. Now you’re looking. Two people are now looking for an email that should have been easily searchable.  Time is being wasted by two individuals looking for an email when it would have taken a matter of seconds from one person to appropriately file it in the first place.

Take the time to 1) learn your case management system, and 2) use it.

Just Do It Yourself

In my last post I discussed ways that attorneys can and should utilize their paralegals to increase efficiency.  Sometimes, the most efficient thing is to do it yourself.  Have all the contact information for co-counsel, but need a contact added to your Outlook?  Take the 60 seconds to get it done.  Need a phone number really quick and know exactly who/what you are looking for? Google it.  Occasionally, the most efficient thing is to do it yourself.

Now What?

A little time on the front end saves a lot of time on the back-end – when time matters most.

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