Improving Lawyer Organization: Best Practices

By Morgan Martinez

Organization is a lawyer’s best friend. A tidy virtual and physical work environment enables you to work efficiently. Well-managed time results in greater productivity. Streamlined workflows ensure better team collaboration and client communication. An intuitive filing system allows everyone to find what they need. 

Simply put, lawyer organization can help your firm run like a Swiss watch. In this article, we’ll dive into law office organization ideas that best-in-class firms use to get ahead. This includes strategies for managing time, more efficiently communicating with clients and colleagues, and utilizing online files and tools. 

Why is Lawyer Organization Important? 

Practicing law can be hectic. Litigators, for example, often juggle filing dates and administrative deadlines—sometimes across jurisdictions. That’s on top of time tracking, sending invoices, overseeing payments, managing trust accounts, updating clients, and generating new business. It’s easy to let important deadlines slip through the cracks, which can negatively impact client satisfaction and your law firm’s reputation. 

Attorney organization is the best way to combat the chaos. It ensures that you use your time and resources efficiently to deliver the best results for your clients. 

Law office organization can also prevent lawyer burnout. When you and your team minimize mental and physical clutter, you’re less likely to feel stressed or overwhelmed. As a result, firms can improve productivity and decrease turnover. 

Organizing your time well allows you to focus on substantive work and growing your firm. Use MyCase to tackle administrative tasks and streamline your practice, so you can take advantage of your valuable time.

Organizing Your Time 

Whether you bill by the hour or in flat fees, time is your most valuable resource. The following time management strategies can allow you to focus on high-impact tasks that drive firm productivity and profitability. 

1. Limit Distractions

Multiple activities clamor for your attention throughout the day. While you’re busy with billable work, you’re likely encountering phone calls, text messages, emails, social media notifications, and colleague meetings (just to name a few). If you bounce between them all day, you may not complete much substantive work. 

Limit distractions. For example, instruct your secretary to screen or hold calls during your most productive windows of the day. Then, return the important calls at a specific time after completing the day’s core tasks. If you don’t have a secretary, consider investing in a call-answering service that can tackle your ringing phone. 

Learn more about call answering services and other productivity-promoting technology in our article, “Apps For Lawyers.” 

2. Use a Centralized Calendar 

Most lawyers already use a Google or Outlook calendar to track important meetings and dates. Technological tools can make scheduling even easier and more powerful. 

MyCase calendaring software, for example, allows you and your staff to schedule reminders for events and meetings—to avoid missed deadlines. Additional productivity benefits include: 

  • Centralizing all appointments, events, and meetings in one firm-wide calendar 
  • Color-coding entries by event type and filtering capabilities for viewing only certain types of events 
  • Accessing team member schedules and finding availability 
  • Receiving pre-scheduled reminders and updates via text message 
  • Creating events with court rules-based calculations, using the MyCase and LawToolBox integration

With calendaring software, you’ll stay on top of every deadline while spending less time scheduling. 

3. Improve Time Tracking 

Organization for lawyers often starts with time tracking, as it’s a recurring task that can eat up a lot of non-billable time. A poor time-tracking system also has cascading effects, such as slowing down billing. 

The two most common mistakes that attorneys make regarding time tracking are: 

  1. Manual time logging—Writing entries by hand or inputting them into spreadsheets isn’t efficient. And a slew of post-it notes on your desk just adds clutter. Manual methods are also more prone to human error. 
  2. Recording entries retroactively—Are you scouring calendar events and emails to remember how much time you dedicated to each matter? Waiting until the end of the day, week, or month makes time tracking even more difficult and time-consuming. It also leads to missed time and inaccurate invoices. 

Legal time-tracking software resolves these issues and promotes law office organization. For example, MyCase allows you to use multiple timers to log hours in real-time. The system even automatically tracks time spent on calls and emails by case.  

No more stressing out about submitting your entries before the deadline or spending your valuable hours on administrative work. Time-tracking software clears mental clutter so you can focus on serving clients. 

Better communication can lead to happier clients and more incoming business. MyCase can help improve communication, with our law firm CRM and Client Portal. Learn more on our website.

Organizing Your Communication 

Promoting positive communication is a large part of law firm operations management. The law office organization ideas below can help facilitate friendly, effective interactions with clients and colleagues. 

1. Prioritize Excellent Client Service  

Every successful firm is unique, but they all have one thing in common: positive client service. Prioritizing regular communication is the fastest way to create positive experiences. Put processes in place to ensure that you’re reaching out to clients on a consistent basis and during  important milestones (pre-scheduled reminders using MyCase calendaring software can help). 

This rule of thumb applies even before they retain your firm. For example, if a lead fills out a contact form on your firm’s website, you may want to ensure that someone on your team responds within a few hours. Responsiveness can increase the odds of capturing new business, especially if the prospect is reaching out to several law firms at once. 

Next, when the prospect retains your firm, discuss your communication policies during client intake to set realistic expectations. Let’s say that your firm’s policy states that you’ll respond to all emails, phone calls, and text messages within 24 to 48 hours. Explain that rule from the start so clients always know when to expect responses. And most importantly, follow through with your policy to retain credibility. 

2. Enhance Communication With Colleagues 

Team collaboration impacts everything from law firm productivity to client satisfaction. But working together is sometimes easier said than done, particularly in a remote environment. (Nearly 90% of surveyed lawyers said that their firms allowed team members to work remotely, according to the American Bar Association.) 

Document your firm’s procedures to ensure that everyone knows their role and responsibilities. For example, who is in charge of chasing down overdue invoices? And what does that process involve? 

Tip: Read our guide on accounts receivable management for tips about getting paid faster and collecting more invoices. 

3. Use Communication Tools 

Client relationship management doesn’t have to be a burden. With the right lawyer organization tools, syncing with clients and colleagues is a breeze. 

For example, the MyCase Client Portal centralizes everything your clients need in one secure location. It allows you to: 

  • Store client contact information 
  • Share important documents between your firm and clients
  • Provide case updates and reminders 
  • Send invoices 
  • Accept online payments
  • Receive messages from clients

With this effective attorney organization strategy, your clients will always be up-to-date on case progress. Plus, you and your colleagues will know the current status and next steps of each case without having to search through emails. 

Today, lawyer organization means digital organization. Let us help keep your firm organized - learn more about our legal practice management software at www.mycase.com.

Digital Organization for Lawyers

In today’s technological world, organization for lawyers must include digital tidiness. 

1. Organize Digital Files 

Document organization—it’s not the most exciting topic for lawyers, but it is essential. An adequate filing system and storage solution enables everyone on the team to access necessary information. 

With MyCase Drive, for instance, your team can quickly and securely manage files from the cloud. Any changes made within MyCase or on your desktop sync automatically—eliminating the need for manual uploads. You can also easily find the documents you’re searching for or run conflict checks using the Full Text Search functionality.

Tip: Your filing system should comply with regulations surrounding record storage, retention, and disposal. Consult your state bar for more information. Then, read more about creating an organized, compliant document storage system in our legal records storage guide

2. Improve Project Management 

Reviewing one case is like assessing the health of one tree. Getting a bird’s eye view of the firm’s holistic case management progress is like gauging the health of the entire forest. 

In other words, you’ll never know how well your firm is doing without a broader project management overview. A powerful case analytics tool provides a variety of key insights, such as: 

  • The status of all cases 
  • The next event or task for every open case 
  • Open cases by practice area
  • Case insights, including your firm’s pipeline over time and how long each case stage normally takes 
  • Real-time revenue insights

How Can You Improve Your Lawyer Organization? 

Lawyer organization goes far beyond keeping a tidy desk. It encompasses strategies for better time management, communication, digital document storage, and case and financial analytics. 

If you’d like to improve your law office organization but don’t know where to start, let us help. MyCase offers a complete suite of legal practice management features for greater efficiency, including: 

  • Time tracking
  • Billing and invoicing 
  • Payments 
  • Legal accounting 
  • Calendaring 
  • Document management 
  • A Client Portal 
  • Built-in text messaging
  • Case analytics 
  • Financial reporting 

Find everything you need to run an organized and productive practice in one place. 

Start your free 10-day trial of MyCase today. There’s no need to provide a credit card or commit to a contract.

For more tips on promoting team productivity, increasing firm profitability, and attorney best practices, subscribe to our complimentary email newsletter, “For The Record.” Just enter your email in the right-hand sidebar near the top of the page. 

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