Legal Business

60 Tips in 60 Minutes?

Ron Friedmann recently posted 60 Tips in 60 Minutes from the 2010 Futures Conference about more efficient practice.

If you're a regular here or at my classes, some of these will sound familiar, such as the following (with my comments below each):

  • Let managers do their jobs. Partners need to let business managers do their work. Get out of their way.
    • Hire people who are good at managing, though; don't just promote someone because of seniority. Management is a real - and difficult - job. Too many folks in this field have never had a really good manager, which just perpetuates bad management.
  • Don't use e-mail to solve big or sensitive issues; do it in person.
    • Legal Project Management contains various strategies for handling difficult conversations - in person - so you don't feel compelled to fall back on the easy and ineffective cop-out of EMail.
  • Do RFP triage. Decide on opting out, all out effort, or pro forma effort. Volume of RFPs up 3x.
    • If you're Column A (the leading position), you must give it a full effort. If you're Column B (the contender), evaluate the likelihood of displacing the Column A firm/vendor. If you're column fodder, do the pro forma thing to maintain a relationship, or opt out altogether. Companies that send RFPs to column-fodder bidders do themselves and you a disservice.
  • Billing is about communicating value. Train time-keepers on writing good bills.
    • Necessary but not sufficient. If you're not communicating value before you send the bill, you're trying to patch a big hole with a small bit of plaster.
  • Track time on a daily basis. Have timekeeping app open on start-up.
    • The latter part depends on your timekeeping app. That said, there is a proven, direct correlation between time-between-working-and-time-entry and both inaccurate timekeeping and time not recorded and thus not billed. Not taking five minutes at the end of the day to get this right is like throwing away money.
  • Turn off new e-mail alerts. Look at e-mail occasionally, when it's a good time for you.
    • I have been saying this for a decade. I've gotten people 30 minutes a day back for their lives, or more. I'm not suggesting you not be responsive; rather, I'm suggesting you balance responsiveness with getting work done. It's very reasonable to have this conversation explicitly with clients and team members. Set expectations properly, and you will be seen as ahead of the curve and a smart worker, not as unresponsive.
  • Dual monitors for all workers. Buy largest monitor you can afford.
    • You can get a 22″ monitor for under $200. You won't believe how much difference a big second monitor makes.
  • Organize your life with Evernote. Let's you put all your info in one place. [RF: I use Microsoft OneNote, which competes with Evernote]
    • So do I. It's invaluable. And indescribable. If you have a Microsoft Office site license, OneNote is probably included. You can download a full-featured 60-day trial for free. I don't know how to describe what this does in a way that makes sense, and neither, I fear, does Microsoft; you simply have to try it for a while. It isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if you make it work for you, it'll be a terrific time-saver.
  • Build IT training into the budget.
    • Why only IT training?

Many of these seem like pretty good tips, certainly worth a minute of your time to think about. They can save you hours, lots of dollars, or sanity.

Read more on the Lexician Blog.