If you’re a lawyer, you know. Billable hours means your work has purpose and gets recognised and, ultimately, it means you are a valuable part of your firm. Yet, as a junior lawyer, it might feel like billable time is always slipping through your fingers. To capture that time and keep up with your colleagues, you should be trying to become more efficient at dealing with your non-billable tasks. Here are 3 creative ways to do so.
1. Track Your Non-Billable Hours
Before you can work smarter, you need to understand how you work.
With social media just a link on your laptop or tap on your phone away, it is easy to blur the distinction between work time and personal time. Spending too much time procrastinating on social media is a sure way to lose time you could be spending on billable tasks. By keeping track of what you are doing in your non-billable time, you can catch these moments before they prevent you from meeting your targets.
Or, perhaps the issue isn’t that you are spending too much time procrastinating. Instead, the issue might be that you are labouring far too long over non-billable tasks. If this is you, there are two key practices you should implement.
2. Learn How To Delegate
As a junior lawyer, you may feel like by asking for help you are admitting that you aren’t good enough. However, this is just not true. Now that you’ve learned where your time is going, you need to be asking whether your work could be better handled by somebody else.
If you are working on a legal matter, ask yourself whether a colleague could take over part of the work or give you some assistance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: it shows your employer that you are self-aware about your capabilities.
If you are working on routine matters like filing or managing your calendar, or on other administrative work like making copies, ask yourself whether this could be delegated to a secretary or administrative assistant.
3. And Learn When To Automate
Not every task you do as a lawyer has to be done manually. Make sure that you’re getting the most out of your firm’s technology, or seeking out new technology your firm could be using, to spend less time on non-billable tasks and stay ahead.
Many lawyers lose time by failing to keep ahead of automation trends. Technology can be used to track time in ways tailored specifically for different members of the firm and automate tasks such as the creation of legal documents and the recording of data related to phone calls. For example, Vxt Call is used by law firms like Saunders & Co, ASCO Legal and Hedges Law to take call notes, transcribe and record calls, record time spent on a call and integrate this data with their practice management systems.
Save precious time by keeping ahead of this shift to automation. If your law firm is not yet using smart time tracking software and automating documents and phone call data, approaching your practice manager to make the change will single you out as savvy and able to take initiative.
Don’t fall behind on your targets. Learn how you are using your time, and show your employer you are a valuable employee who takes the initiative and keeps the firm on the latest trends by delegating and automating tasks.