A lot of day-to-day legal work is dull and repetitive. There, we said it. No one’s ever written a courtroom drama about opening new case files or drafting an initial complaint. It’s not the exciting work that dances through people’s minds when they decide to go to law school, but it’s part of the core legal work that must get done, over and over͘ And unfortunately, it’s work that can eat up a lot of time.
But it doesn’t have to. Here’s how to save time on repeated tasks͘.
The Trap of Unbillable Work
While some types of billable work could also be considered tedious, much of what we’re talking about here involves unbillable administrative tasks. Lawyers spend most of their workday on work organization, ad hoc tasks, and administration. One commonly cited statistic claims that most lawyers have only a 30 percent utilization rate, indicating that they spend only about 2.5 hours out of every 8-hour workday on billable work.
The answer here is easy: the way to spend more time billing is to spend less time on unbillable tasks. So, why is getting the billable work done such a challenge?
How Even Billable Work Can Take Over Your Day
Let’s consider, for a moment, the everyday billable tasks at the core of your legal practice, such as interviewing a witness or drafting a complaint. These should be suitable tasks to spend time on, but why does it often take an entire day to complete one simple piece of work?
For one thing, as practicing lawyers, we’re constantly juggling distractions. Suppose you start to open a new case file, but you realize you need the client’s phone number in their introductory email. You go to your email inbox to fetch that information, but while you’re there, you realize you have three urgent emails to read and respond to.
Two hours later, you’re finally ready to start over on opening that new case. Where were you again? Oh, that’s right, you need the client’s phone number from their email If you’re lucky, you can get in and out this time with the information you need. But then your phone rings, and you have to shift gears yet again. Each time you come back, you have to remember where you were in the process.
Get More Done With Task Workflows
One of the keys to minimizing the time you spend on the everyday tasks that are at the core of your legal practice is routinizing them, creating streamlined processes and workflows that help you get those repeated tasks done faster and more efficiently. Instead of starting from scratch every time you need to do a common task, you can follow the breadcrumbs you’ve left for yourself to see clearly what you should do next. Additionally, it would help if you had a way to store and surface the text-based information that’s used repeatedly across a single case file. Instead of getting distracted by looking for information in an email or an online form submission, you want an organizational system that provides those details when and where you need them.
Cognito’s task-management software offers an intuitive, seamless platform that captures and organizes all of the information you need for the core repeated tasks that make up the heart of your legal practice. Whether it͛s the essential details about a new client that you need to open their file or the key facts and arguments that will populate your complaint, Cognito incorporates data from all text-based information from emails, documents, notes, client intake questionnaires, contact lists, and more. It then structures that information, so it’s where you need it when you need it, which saves you time, minimizes distractions, and improves your task completion rate. Learn how you can simplify your legal workflow and get a free 30-day trial.