Law Firm Programs
Productive Time offers three types of services aimed at helping busy lawyers and law firms get organized and get things done:
- Get Organized and Get Things Done - Practical Time Management for Lawyers
- Overcoming E-Mail Overload
- The Art of Effective Delegation
- Project Management & Teamwork for Attorneys
- Make Time Work for You - How to Manage Time Wasters at the Law Office
- Overcoming Clutter - How to Manage & Retrieve Paper
- How to Run Effective & Productive Meetings
- Overcoming Information Overload and Managing Communications
- Effective Communications with Associates & Staff
- Coping with Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession
- Managing Multiple Bosses - for Legal Secretaries & Assistants
This fast-paced and entertaining seminar provides practical techniques for managing time, paper, information, projects and yourself. Enhance your organizational and time management skills to become more productive, achieve your priorities and make more time for yourself.
Program highlights include practical techniques to:
- Take control of your day by effective planning & scheduling.
- Focus on your priorities and work more productively.
- Manage competing demands with a minimum of stress.
- Handle interruptions and timewasters that drain productivity.
- Overcome procrastination and minimize management by crisis.
- Delegate, communicate and use support staff more effectively.
- Manage information overload (including the deluge of e-mail).
- Process paper efficiently and eliminate clutter in your office.
- Set up action files to find things when you need them.
- Develop a personal action plan to enhance organizing & time management skills.
Overwhelmed with the volume of e-mail you receive daily? E-mail has become the primary method of external communication between lawyer and client as well as internal communications within the law firm. It can be a valuable tool or a productivity-sapping burden, depending on how well it is managed. This program helps you cope with the deluge of e-mail and develop systems for managing your in-box, storing e-mails effectively for future retrieval and coordinating time-sensitive e-mails with your calendar. This timely program includes practical techniques to:
- Manage e-mail for greater productivity
- Process your in-box
- Organize your e-mail for retrieval
- Deal effectively with attachments
- Use available Outlook tools to move e-mail to action items & calendar
Effective delegation lies somewhere between the extremes of micro-management and laissez-faire. The art of delegation requires, among other things clear communications, understanding of the assignment and time frame, a climate for questioning & mentoring, periodic follow-up, feedback and evaluation. This workshop reviews practical programs and techniques for leveraging your time and mentoring associates by effective delegation. Agenda topics include:
- Review of delegation phobias & benefits of delegation
- The steps for effective delegation
- Importance of Clear Communications
- Roles & responsibilities of the players
- Advantages for associate retention & development
- Feedback on projects
- Action Plan for improving delegation of projects
Attorneys are notorious for completing work at the last minute. A crisis management mode can be the result of busy schedules, heavy workload, competing priorities or poor planning. Learn to apply project management techniques to legal work, juggle multiple priorities and use all of your available staff resources effectively. The agenda covers the following topics:
- How to avoid management by crisis
- Why cases and transactions are projects
- The steps in the project management process and how to apply them to legal work
- Factoring in everyone’s workload including support staff
- Teamwork: communications, delegation, how to provide feedback and hold productive meetings
- Handling multiple projects - planning, weekly review & scheduling time to do the work
- How to manage timewasters and interruptions
Once an attorney has planned all of the work that needs to be done, how do you get it done on schedule and keep time wasters and interruptions at the office from derailing your priorities? This workshop presents practical strategies for handling:
- Telephone interruptions
- Drop-in visitors
- Unproductive meetings
- E-mail overload
- Failure to schedule priority tasks
- Poor communications.
The paperless office remains a dream. If you are overwhelmed by the volume of paper entering your office, it’s time to conquer the clutter and handle your overflowing in-box by establishing a system for paper management. We will learn how to process the incoming paper for easy retrieval by set-up and maintenance of case, project, action, reference and reading files. Learn how to supervise support staff, maintain your system and develop an index to all your files. The program covers the following areas:
- How did your office get so cluttered?
- How to declutter your desk and dig out from under
- Clutter control - how to maintain an organized desk and office
- Systems for processing paperwork
- Developing and maintaining a filing system
Attorneys spend a lot of time in meetings. Yet complaints about unclear purposes and wasted time are common. This workshop focuses on the elements of a productive meeting: purpose, preparation of an agenda, timing & pacing, staying on point, open discussion, and recording and follow-up on decisions. The agenda includes:
- Why many meetings are not productive
- How to clearly determine the purpose & objectives of a meeting and develop a realistic agenda
- Techniques for staying on time and staying on track
- How to make decisions and ensure follow-up with action items
- Techniques for dealing with difficult people and securing participation
- Alternatives to meetings to achieve your goals
- Effective communication and facilitation skills in the meeting context
- Closing and evaluating the meeting
We are all overloaded with information these days. No sooner do we empty the In-box on our desk or our e-mail (if we, in fact, ever achieve such a state), and then it is full again. With so much information and so many ways to send and receive it, we need systems to communicate effectively and to manage the overload. This program combines the paper clutter and e-mail programs into a two-hour presentation. Attendees will learn how to:
- Make decisions on incoming paper and e-mail to prevent clutter before it begins
- Process incoming paper by referring, acting, filing or trashing it
- Develop a system for action files and reference files to easily retrieve documents when needed
- Process incoming e-mail efficiently so it doesn’t remain stuck in the electronic in-box
- Develop effective outgoing e-mail messages
- Use the appropriate form of communication for each particular situation (e.g., meeting, phone call, memo, e-mail, one-on-one discussion and voice mail)
- Schedule time to shelter yourself from the constant communication barrage to get some work done
In a profession that requires effective communication in litigation, deal-making and advice to clients, lawyers often don’t communicate very well with each other and with staff. Cryptic notes, assignments without context, unclear instructions, failure to plan time to complete tasks, and hoarding tasks until the last minute cause wasted time, rush jobs, stress and frustration. Items on the agenda include:
- Familiar examples of poor communications
- The effect on poor communications on work flow & quality
- The essentials of clear communications
- Listening skills
- The importance of feedback
- Effective & clear delegation of assignments
(This is a required MCLE hour in California).
Topics include a discussion of:
- Statistics on substance abuse
- Stressors for lawyers
- The nature of chemical dependency
- How to recognize alcoholism & substance abuse in yourself & others
- Steps for intervention and treatment
- Available resources
The only thing more stressful to a legal secretary or assistant than a demanding boss is several demanding bosses. These days, many legal secretaries and assistants perform work for two or more attorneys. The program covers the following topics:
- Planning and setting priorities
- How to juggle & resolve conflicting priorities
- Dealing with management by crisis (rush jobs)
- How to help your bosses plan their work
- Clarifying expectations
- How to deal with interruptions
- Ensuring clear communications & feedback
- Sharpening negotiation skills
- How to navigate through a busy day
- Coping with stress