Aim to Increase Attorney Productivity
Increased attorney productivity benefits law firms by increasing revenues. There are several hurdles that could potentially hinder the productivity of lawyers and these have to be addressed by law firm managers at the soonest possible time.
Just like any other profit organizations, a law firm’s profits are affected with how a partner or employee performs. There are several factors that could possibly affect attorney productivity. Each of them should be closely scrutinized to be able to bridge the gap between current and desired service levels.
Generally, the term “attorney” refers to a person who is qualified and allowed to defend or prosecute the actions of a client before a court of law. Alternative terms for people with this profession are attorney-at-law, lawyer or counselor. In many US jurisdictions, it is required that the bar exam be successfully hurdled for law graduates to become licensed to practice law. Moreover, almost all states require that applicants for the bar exam should have a professional law degree from any law school that is accredited by the state. Aside from this requirement of formal law education, attorneys also need to comply with Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements.
Productivity of attorneys is usually measured through the value of the tasks performed and accomplished. Most law firm and law department managers refer to productivity as the amount of services done by a qualified lawyer in any given time. One of the most crucial factors that affect lawyer productivity is experience. Generally, a task gets to be accomplished faster if a lawyer already has experience in doing the same task. Similarly, experience could also be a drag if the person concerned no longer finds purpose or motivation in doing a certain task since he has been doing it numerous times. Another important productivity factor is knowledge in performing lawyer duties. There are various ways of increasing knowledge including CLE, law school courses, or professional reading.
Intelligence is another factor that needs to be looked into when it comes to lawyer productivity. Naturally, intelligent lawyers tend to accomplish things faster. In addition, they are also able to offer better legal solutions as compared to lawyers who are less smart. Though nothing much could be done about making lawyers smarter, there are certain activities, books, and courses that are designed to make lawyers more creative. This is vital since creativity is an important lawyer productivity tool. Technological tools like personal computers, BlackBerries, dictation equipment, and advanced software for pocket PCs also help lawyers become better with what they do. It is important that these tools should be user-friendly so that lawyers would not spend most of their time tinkering around these gadgets instead of focusing on providing legal services to their clients.
Perhaps the most important factor that could spell a lot of difference in terms of attorney productivity is training. This helps law firms in their recruitment efforts as law graduates tend to favor those law firms which they perceive to be very willing in having them trained. It is a fact that in today’s world, top-quality law graduates are very difficult to come by. So, this added incentive should be able to attract them like bees to flowers. Lastly, training minimizes turnover as a carefully-designed training program will allow associates to benefit from career development.
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