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Law Firms & ‘False Urgency’

Posted by Peter on March 06, 2013
law firm management

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False Urgency is the biggest deficiency that I need to stamp-out in my Firm right now. And I mean internally (myself and our staff) and externally (clientele). What do I mean when I say ‘False Urgency’? I mean simply the many things from staff interruptions to unscheduled client calls that hinder the efficient use of time…and that’s the main stock-in-trade of a legal services business. It really goes back to the old Important vs. Urgent continuum…I want to be spending far more time on intentional, scheduled important matters instead of unscheduled, urgent but not important matters.

And I think it’s a pretty easy fix that I just need to implement. How?

Automate your calendar. I’ve been meaning to sign-up for timetrade.com for months. I used it as a free trial some time ago and then with various changes in my firm had let it expire. Basically it lets you put a simple button on your Website and then integrates with your electronic calendar so a prospect or client clicks through your calendar for meeting times you’ve set into your calendar in advance. I have no relationship with timetrade it’s just the product I’ve used and seen used in the past and the price is only $49 annually.

Train your clients. Include some ‘Client Responsibilities’ along with verbal direction to clients up-front regarding how meetings and telephone conferences are handled & NOT handled. For example, last week I took a spur-of-the-moment call from a client whom another attorney in the office had been corresponding with on some legal discovery. And he starts peppering me with questions that really should have been asked of the other lawyer on the case and I just sort of nodded and said yes to his questions. And the net result of that sort of conversation is basically 15 minutes of wasted time. If that call was set in advance through timetrade or scheduled through my legal assistant with meeting specifics set out in advance that time would have been far more productive.

Define a narrow emergency exception to the above. Basically this is the one exception to the above, like in family law land if some ex-wife has just grabbed the kids, has plane tickets to Russia, and is threatening to never let you see your 9-year-old daughter again. Or the folks from DCFS just showed up and want to take your kid. But this is also part of the TRAINING in #2…and this should be a very narrow exception.

 

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1 Comment to Law Firms & ‘False Urgency’

  • S. Malman says:

    Really great article. Like you said, false urgency wastes time and money. In our industry, our time is our currency, we need to be as efficient as possible.

    Great suggestion for calendar automation… seems like it would be great for clients, we’re looking into it.

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