21 Nov Being a Lawyer: 10 Things Every Lawyer Can’t Do Without
There are more than 10 things lawyers can’t live without to efficiently practice law and those items are for all lawyers regardless of practice area or practice style. However, for this article I’ve put together the 10 things that have helped me immensely and continue to do so daily.
1. Hire a Great Assistant
By far the most important item for a lawyer is a good assistant. You need an organized, caring and efficient assistant that will organize your lawyer life and ensure that your workload is streamlined. Without a great assistant, you will spend countless hours performing administrative tasks which will increase your workload and moves you away from billable tasks.
2. Document Management System
Right behind a good assistant, and one of the key things a lawyer needs to practice law, is a computer document management system. Gone are the days where you work your way through a hard copy file, page by page, trying to find evidence and facts that may be important. A modern lawyer will have a document management system that makes file reviews very efficient. Finding things for a lawyer are as easy as a quick automated file search.
3. Smart Phone With Access to All Important Information
The next thing a lawyer needs is a phone that is connected to your office computer, has your e-mails, connects to your office phone and maintains your calendar. Clients nowadays expect to have immediate access to you or they will be looking to a modern age lawyer that is “connected”. I field more phone calls and texts/e-mails on my smart phone than through the office computer.
4. Remote Desktop Set Up
Another key item is to have a remote access system to your office computer. Nothing beats being able to sit at home or on vacation and have complete access to your office computer. This feature will save you on commuting to and from the office not to mention keep you up-to-date on your workload.
5. A Sophisticated Phone Set Up
Another thing lawyers need is an office phone system that takes after hour phone messages and relays them immediately to you. Many potential clients will call after work hours looking for a lawyer. They will go through the phone book until they get one. If you wait until the next day to call the potential client back once you have reached the office, chances are the client will have connected to another lawyer.
6. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing!
The next thing a lawyer needs is a good marketing plan. Don’t think clients will find you. In the computer era, most progressive law firms are working hard to gain a web presence in their field of law. Marketing yourself is a great way to differentiate from other lawyers you’re competing with.
7. Great Technical Infrastructure
Another thing a lawyer requires is a great computer system at the office which has minimal downtime. Don’t cheap on your computer system as a slow moving or broken down computer is the most frustrating part of any business. Top-line productivity can be affected by things like internet speed, so don’t cheap out!
8. A Trusty Bookkeeper
On thing all lawyers need is a great bookkeeper/ accountant. The last thing one needs to do is try to meet trust obligation and tax filings based on poor bookkeeping records. Though it’s counterintuitive, paying for a great accountant will actually save you money. Getting a good bookkeeper is an absolute must for any lawyer.
9. A Proper Bring Forward System
Another thing for lawyers is to have a proper “BF” (bring forward) system. Not only can you miss deadlines and be sued for malpractice but if you are not BFing tasks and files, items will fall through the cracks. A “BF” system is a must.
Last but not least, a critical thing a lawyer needs is downtime. Don’t let the practice of law consume your entire life from when you rise to when you fall asleep. Step away, find a hobby or two and relax.