This is the second in a series of three articles adapted from last summer’s publication of the same name.
More stimulating ideas, this time from David Bilinsky
1. How do you suggest those in the legal industry best manage their time?
I believe lawyers (and others) prioritize their tasks and use to-do lists that not only list the important and urgent things that must be done, but also have approximate time budgets attached. The reason is that when a window opens in their schedule, they can pick the most important task on their list that matches the time availability.
I also believe you should schedule the most important 2 items on your list and make appointments with yourself where interruptions are limited (family and file emergencies only) so that you can get that most luxurious item — uninterrupted time!
I also believe you should listen to Stephen Covey and set aside time each day to sharpen your personal saw. Take time to find out what is happening out in the wide world that has relevance to where you wish to go on a personal and strategic level.
I recently toured Google Inc. They have a policy that virtually everyone who is a knowledge worker is entitled to work up to 20% of the time on projects that drive them. University professors are entitled to sabbatical time. I think we need to introduce these concepts to the legal world so lawyers can work on projects that have a longer timeline than the current file on their desk and which feed them, emotionally, personally and strategically.
2. What 3 tips would you give to those in the legal industry on managing personal productivity?
Protect your time — and protect your time! Everyone will want you to do the tasks that they want you to do. If you don’t seize control of your time and schedule, you abrogate this responsibility to others and you will be spending time on other people’s priorities and not your own.
3. What are the current stumbling blocks for the legal industry when it comes to being more efficient?
I think Casey Flaherty, Gen. Counsel of Kia America said it best when he said: “Lawyers suck at using technology”.
Tech has been responsible for transforming our economy. Lawyers are not immune to these changes. If we don’t adopt technology and transform how we provide legal services and meet the growing need for access to justice, we will wake up one day to find that someone/something else has met those needs and relegated lawyers to the side-lines. Either we embrace our future or we will find it written for us.
4. How do you feel the industry can overcome these barriers?
What struck me on touring Facebook and Google’s campuses recently was the vast number of young, nimble minds that are working on creative things.
Law firms are mostly run by partners who are part of the ‘grey hair crowd’ and who do not have a great understanding of or appreciation for how technology is transforming our society. We need to get way more diverse in terms of bringing in and listening to creative minds on how we can rework how to deliver legal services in ways that meet the client’s needs.
About David Bilinsky (@David_Bilinsky)
David is a Practice Management Consultant and lawyer with the Law Society of British Columbia, as well as a Fellow of the College of Law practice Management. In addition to this, he was previously the Editor-in-Chief of ABA’s Law Practice Magazine. He works to empower lawyers in innovative ways to provide excellent service to clients. Visit his blog Thoughtful Law.