At Lawyer Time Management, we work with a select number of highly-motivated attorneys who are serious about reaching their next level of professional success. They’re ready to engage in an invigorating one-on-one partnership dedicated solely to learning and enhancing their most important practice management skills. Contact us today for one-on-one lawyer coaching.
Harness the Power
In our coaching relationship, both parties are accountable to one another. Success is a mutual obligation. Our 20 years of experience exclusively coaching lawyers enables us to quickly identify the specific, highest-impact areas to focus on and to design achievable action steps that build new patterns of behavior.
On your side, you bring a commitment to act on your new awareness and practice the techniques that form the building blocks of your growth plan.
Many of our coaching clients come to us after taking our flagship Lawyer Time Management training. They want the direct follow-up support to lock in what they learned, the guidance to practice those learnings, and the accountability structure sustain their focus until they’ve achieved a more satisfying “new normal” way of operating their practice.
The Results You Want
Clients who have engaged in lawyer coaching with us explain that the lessons they put into practice have changed their professional and personal lives in numerous ways. Among other things, clients say the experience has:
- Enabled them to realize a more consistent and sustainable balance
- Revolutionized their organizational abilities
- Increased productivity so they accomplish more in less time
- Helped them elevate and expand their client base
- Improved the financial performance of their practice, team, or firm
- Allowed them to devote more time and attention to their families
- Improved morale in the office
- Increased their confidence as team leaders
- Reduced their stress levels throughout the day
- Enabled them to find genuine enjoyment in a practice that had become a chore
Is it possible to get these results through other methods? Certainly. But what is not possible is to continue with the same patterns and behaviors and expect a different result. You need to take different steps to see different results.
Which steps should you take? We know the steps that have worked for attorneys in a variety of situations. In our private lawyer coaching program, we work with you through each step to drive with you toward the results you want and deserve.
Mastering the Eight Keys to Powerful Productivity of Lawyer Coaching
Over decades of training and coaching frustrated and overworked attorneys, we have developed eight core principles to increase law firm efficiency. We teach the techniques behind these principles to lawyers in workshops all the time. But learning about a technique and learning how to master and make use of that technique are two entirely different things.
Lawyer coaching bridges that gap. You get practice, you get assistance, you get support, and you get help making the adjustments to your habits that bring about effective and permanent changes.
- Managing Your Mindset
The first step toward increasing productivity is to change your mindset. Some people think of it as time management, but you can’t change time and therefore you can’t actually manage it. Instead, we coach you to manage the choices you make during your time. You learn to effectively manage your behaviors.
Our clients grow to realize that exercising control over the way you spend your time is imperative. If you don’t other people and circumstances will control it for you. If you choose to plan, set goals, and erect boundaries, then you allow yourself to move forward and become more efficient. If you don’t deliberately choose how you want to act, you will end up reacting instead, finishing each day defeated and even further behind than before.
- Managing Your Tasks
The practice of law is made up of a series of tasks. Sometimes, you undertake these tasks entirely on your own. At other times, they are completed by colleagues or performed as a collaborative effort. When you complete tasks you are productive, and when you don’t, you aren’t.
To complete tasks effectively and efficiently, lawyer coaching can help you:
- Capture tasks, breaking them down into individual components
- Analyze your practices to determine how time is wasted
- Develop updated plans for performance to optimize efficiency
- Organize “to-do” lists for ease of access and update
- Allocate tasks by classification
- Assign realistic due dates for every task
Looking at every job based on its component tasks can help you see where you and your team are duplicating efforts or performing unnecessary work. When you organize and manage your tasks correctly, you can feel confident that essential work will be completed on time, reducing stress and increasing confidence.
- Plan and Schedule Your Time
The time you have allocated for your day will be used up at the end. Making the most of it means rigorous planning. Very often, without planning, the important long-term needs get pushed back while less important, but immediate, concerns are addressed. Creating and sticking to a plan can help ensure that the essential tasks get done.
With lawyer coaching, you learn how to create a schedule, starting with the most pressing items from your task lists. In addition, you begin to understand how to allocate a realistic amount of time to complete each task and you recognize the need to schedule specific times for communications such as email and phone calls. You also get in the habit of devoting some time each morning to reviewing and adjusting your schedule. This will help you stay focused and keep your progress on track.
- Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Team
Even in a small practice, no lawyer operates in a vacuum. Attorneys routinely work with administrators, client specialists, legal assistants, and others, and your law firm can provide the most effective and efficient service to clients when you make the best use of everyone’s time and talents.
Your team members want to be productive and engaged. With lawyer coaching, you learn how to manage them well so they are challenged without becoming overwhelmed. Delegation is often a key component to increasing productivity, but it must be built on a layer of trust. If you have to check and second guess every delegated task, you do not save time and you demonstrate a lack of faith in your team.
Instead, you need to teach and trust. Accept a certain amount of conflict and acknowledge that your way of doing things might not always be the best. When you allow your team to suggest alternatives to your plans, you not only gain their loyalty but foster a culture that rewards proficiency.
Learn to create a sense of commitment and accountability. Each member of the team should feel responsible for successes as well as mistakes. This inspires everyone to contribute their best efforts and will increase law firm efficiency.
- Optimize Systems of All types
Law firms complete tasks, and every task is made of smaller components. When you find ways to improve the components, you improve the end result.
Knowing how to look at the processes inherent in daily activities to spot opportunities for improvement is essential. A change in something as simple as the convention you use to name and organize client files, for instance, can save you seconds that quickly add up to minutes, hours, and days.
Look at the workflows your firm uses repeatedly. There should be standard procedures for tasks such as screening potential clients, new client intake, and opening a case file. Take a look at how the procedures should work and how they actually work in practice. If staff members spend 25% of their time looking for information or recreating content, that system needs re-working.
Thinking in terms of shortcuts and ways to cut out unnecessary steps is essential. Developing procedures to keep meetings and phone calls focused and specific can quickly turn an unproductive day right-side up.
- Tame Your Email
Email is the tool that too often becomes the master. Just because it is possible to communicate instantly and comprehensively doesn’t mean that it is a good idea. Email should not::
- Overload everyone on staff with too much information
- Take away too much time from other tasks as we over-check for messages and draft immediate responses to matters that could wait
- Bury essential information in a pile of junk mail
Developing a system to prioritize messages is key. Flagging the most important emails for speedy action and automatically filtering other messages to be addressed at designated times is a key to success. Your plan for managing and organizing email should also include a plan for regular maintenance.
With coaching, you learn to take measures to improve the quality of messages colleagues send to each other. For instance, you could encourage staff to use standard, informative subject lines for quick identification. All staff should also be trained to start messages with the most critical information so that essential news is not missed.
- Set and Enforce Boundaries
To protect your time so you can use it optimally, lawyer coaching includes setting and enforcing boundaries. The goal is to prevent interruptions so that you can work according to the schedule you’ve planned to make the most efficient use of your time.
Interruptions come from a variety of sources, so you will need different techniques to avoid them. Set up blocks of “do not disturb” time where you turn off alerts, shut the door, and ignore the outside world. Give yourself the luxury of focused time to be productive and focus only on one task.
Lawyer coaching teaches you to set boundaries with your clients. It is possible to be responsive to their needs without necessarily stopping to respond to every phone call immediately. Let your clients know right from the outset that you answer email messages at a certain time of the day and that all phone calls are scheduled in advance. At the start of a call, let them know how much time you have available.
You need to set similar boundaries for colleagues. Make sure that they understand your do not disturb times are sacred. Set times for reviewing progress or answering questions.
Finally, you also need to learn to master the art of the healthy “no.” Recognize when agreeing to something will be counterproductive. Offer an alternative that satisfies.
- Personal Wellbeing is a Necessity, not a Luxury
One of the final areas we address in lawyer coaching, personal wellbeing, is in many ways the most important. Too many lawyers have fallen prey to the myth that success in the legal field is measured by stress and overwork. They believe you can’t be a good lawyer unless you devote virtually all your time and energy to your practice.
In fact, just the opposite is true. You increase law firm efficiency by working at your optimal level of stress—and that level is far below the high-water mark. The key is to find the right pressure to motivate yourself and your staff to maximum productivity without reaching the point of fatigue and overload. We spend considerable time searching for that balance and then practicing ways to maintain the equilibrium.
We also work on developing a mindful response to stimuli. Instead of reacting when life throws you a curveball, we train you to consider the situation and respond in a way that keeps you in control.
Learn More About the Changes Lawyer Coaching Can Bring to Your Professional Life
Law firms hire us to conduct training because our methods work. But it can be very hard to put those methods into practice on your own.
To bring about the most effective change in the most efficient manner, there is no substitute for working one-on-one with an experienced coach. Together, we reinforce the lessons and refine the procedures. We work as a team to optimize your procedures. You quickly get the results you want in your professional development, and you are able to see the improvement in your personal life sooner. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.