One of the most important skills for young lawyers to master is maximizing productivity. Better productivity improves an individual's personal sense of accomplishment as well as the level of trust and admiration received from clients and supervising attorneys. Below are a handful of tips to assist young lawyers who are seeking to become their most productive selves:
1 Maintaining Focus
One of the simplest yet most difficult tasks is remaining focused. When workflow is slow, lethargy may set in, along with the urge to engage in mindless activities like internet browsing. When work is busy, it is easy to waste time feeling disorganized while fielding emails. During times of feast or famine, the first thing to do is set a billable hour goal each day. This time may be filled with a mix of client billable work, pro bono, networking, or training. Setting a target ensures that each day consists of a minimum number of productive hours. Additionally, setting a target guarantees time to monitor news regarding the ever-changing health care laws and regulations. The second thing to do to maintain focus is plan out tasks. Crafting a "to-do list," managing your calendar, and fixing personal deadlines are efficient ways to establish a plan for accomplishing short-term goals.
2 Immediate Billing
The main key to productive billing is to record the work performed. To bill accurately, billing immediately is crucial. Recording time immediately allows young lawyers to assess where they stand in terms of their billable hours requirement or time spent on specific projects, which is especially important for health care clients that request billing statements on demand. Recording time immediately also ensures time is not wasted struggling to recall tasks or under-billed because you are forced to estimate. The health care industry has embraced business models that promote more efficient payment and care delivery, which has triggered requirements that in-house and outside legal counsel work diligently to keep costs down.
3 Working Remotely
When used wisely, remote access to employer technologies is extremely useful. Establishing a secondary workplace affords the ability to work from the office without sacrificing quality or efficacy and offers the flexibility to leave the office for personal activities knowing that, if work arises, such work can be completed proficiently. Working remotely is particularly important in the current health care climate where clients use telemedicine and other technologies, and expect their attorneys to be adept at shifting conversations from physical to virtual.
4 Delegating Efficiently
Delegation benefits young lawyers because assigning projects to trustworthy junior attorneys and staff permits concentrating on more complex projects, building increasingly advanced knowledge and skills, and contributing to projects on a strategic level. Developing a broader skill set and knowledge base is particularly important for health care lawyers who seek to be in demand through the possession of familiarity with specialized compliance or legal issues, particularly those that involve newly enacted health laws and regulations (for which there are many).
5 Ask to be Productive
Many supervising attorneys value associates who are productive. Young professionals should seek feedback regarding whether their practices and habits are viewed as reflecting a maximum level of productivity. Susan Hendrickson, health care partner at Dechert LLP, states that in order to be seen as productive, ask to produce work: "You would be surprised how positively colleagues and clients respond if you ask for feedback on your level of productivity, ask for opportunities to take on additional work, or ask for the responsibility of delegating to junior lawyers. As a partner, I may not always have enough bandwidth to consider each associate's development, so I am grateful for 'the ask.'" Asking to be productive provides otherwise unavailable opportunities for development of skill sets and a knowledge base in the health care industry where laws and technologies are constantly changing.
Originally published by AHLA
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.