3 Ways Lawyers Can Reduce Time Spent on Administrative Tasks
Answering phone calls, balancing the books, organizing your files -- these are the sort of chores that can keep you from doing your actual job: lawyering. Administrative tasks can easily eat up a significant portion of your time, taking up a third or more of many a lawyer's day.
Indeed, administrative duties are such a burden on small firms and solo practices that lawyers rank "spending too much time on administrative tasks and not enough practicing law" as the third most significant challenge they face, according to a survey released by Thomson Reuters this summer. Thankfully, there are ways to cut down on that burden, freeing you up to do more important (and profitable) work.
1. Hire Someone Else to Take Care of It
The obvious and easiest answer to too much administrative work is to hire someone to take care of it for you. "Thanks jerk, but if I could afford to expand my team, I obviously wouldn't be doing this work myself," you might be thinking. But even if you can't hire another full-time paralegal or legal secretary, you still might be able to get some extra help.
For example, a virtual paralegal could handle some of your administrative work remotely, on an as-needed basis. Part-time positions could be enticing to some paralegals or legal secretaries, as well. Contracting with a bookkeeper can free you from having to track finances yourself -- accounting, after all, is not a typical lawyer's strong suit.
2. Get Better Technology or Better at Technology
There are plenty of tech "tricks" that can make you a more productive lawyer, whether dealing with administrative tasks or legal ones. Practice management software, for example, can help you keep on top of your firm management, so you're not scrambling to put together your own calendars, account statements, and case files.
Additionally, simply learning the ins and outs of the tech you do have can save you plenty of time. Learning how to better use programs like Word and Outlook,for example, can shave minutes off of everyday tasks; minutes which add up to hours, hours that, over time, add up to days.
3. Learn How to Delegate
Finally, one reason you might have too much administrative work is because you insist on doing it all yourself. Prioritize your work by thinking about where your time is most valuable, and focus on completing those tasks yourself. The rest can be delegated to your team, based on who is best equipped to get it done.
- Are Legal Secretaries the Key to Increased Law Firm Profitability? (ABA's Law Technology Today)
- Small Firm Lawyers: Delegate Your Administrative Tasks! (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Lawyers, Stay Productive by Taking Breaks (FindLaw's Strategist)
- How Much Does Hiring Legal Support Staff Cost? (FindLaw's Strategist)
FindLaw has an affiliate relationship with Indeed, earning a small amount of money each time someone uses Indeed's services via FindLaw. FindLaw receives no compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.
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