In Pursuit of Priorities: Time Management: Not an Impossible Dream in Law Firms

Published 09/01/2009

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A coaching client called me, frustrated because she was afraid of missing critical litigation dates. In fact, she even awoke in the middle of the night on more than one occasion, wondering whether a document had been filed timely. She had explored case management software programs, but found them too expensive and cumbersome. She also didn’t have sufficient staff for complicated record-keeping notations.

Does this sound familiar? I recognized her frustration because I had heard it many times before. More important, I recognized that she had tried to find a solution on her own, and that her past experience would make her more open to experimentation.

Lawyers – and the firm managers and administrators with whom they work – must realize that while time cannot be technically "managed," priorities can be set, and then systematically addressed. Most folks who claim they have too little time generally 1) fail to make a list of priorities, 2) hop around the list, or 3) allow themselves to be distracted by "urgent", but not "important," other tasks. They then fail to get "back on the wagon," revisiting the priority list to pick up where they left off.

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