There are many ways to gain recognition within the legal community. With many lists showcasing super lawyers and rising stars, what defines today’s top performing attorneys? You may or may not be surprised to learn that the answer revolves around time - how it’s managed, how it’s tracked and how it is valued. In this post, we’ll discuss the approach that today’s top performing attorneys take to time - one of our most valuable resources as professionals.
#1: Leverage Technology
Today’s top performing attorneys understand that success isn’t simply a matter of hours worked, but requires the ability to maximize the value of every working moment. They understand the value of technology, particularly mobile apps that allow them to do what they need to do in the most efficient way possible - from dictation to mobile time entry, calendar management, and collaboration tools such as Trello and Slack. Furthermore, the best attorneys are intensely focused on building a strong set of habits, which allow them to perform daily tasks and activities as effortlessly as possible.
#2: Time Entry & Timekeeping Are Key
When you think of a top performing attorney, you probably imagine them winning cases and most billable hours. However, today’s top performers focus on many things outside of the courtroom that bring about success, one of those things being timekeeping. Not only do strong timekeeping habits (such as practicing contemporaneous time entry in lieu of reconstructive time entry) allow for better time management as discussed above, but following timekeeping best practices increases billing accuracy, therefore strengthening relationships with clients, shortening billing cycles and lowering unnecessary costs for the firm. Through a commitment to timekeeping, today’s attorneys drive performance, not only in their career success, but for the firm as a whole.
#3: Contemporaneous Records are a Core Value
Simply put, today’s best attorneys value and honor their time. In daily practice, this means not wasting time on inefficient processes , practicing contemporaneous time entry, so not to miss out on billing what often results in “invisible time” (small increments of time on client work typically spent while outside of the office and on the go). Research indicates that attorneys that keep contemporaneous time, bill more hours, more accurately, but more importantly, this is what your clients expect.
#4: Practice the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique, created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, forces you to focus on one task, typically for 25 minutes at a time (called pomodoro sessions), followed by a 5 minute break to avoid mental fatigue.The result is greatly improved productivity during focused work sessions that can be maintained through effectively managing distractions and taking regular breaks.
#5: Use Timers
Top performing attorneys understand the importance of time accuracy and using timers in their mobile time entry app is the most effective way to achieve that. Most solutions today provide the ability to use timers, however all apps and timers are not created equal. Timers should have the flexibility to adjust time up and down, work across devices and desktop, keep multiple time recordings, but only run one at a time and remind you if by mistake it was left running.
In order to truly become a star in legal, you must master time management. What kinds of characteristics do you see in today’s top performing attorneys? Share your thoughts in the comments below.