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Productivity Tips

(The Lean Law Firm Blog)

E182: Want a more relaxing vacation? Start delegating these tasks at your firm today!

delegation May 17, 2023
person in hamock

When you’re leaving your office for that much-needed summer vacation, a big hurdle for small and solo practitioners is who to leave minding the shop while they’re away.

Last week we talked about one stumbling block for many lawyers: deciding what to delegate. We shared The Delegation Quadrant, a tool that can help. Still, there’s another problem many lawyers face - who to delegate actual legal work to. 

This Week’s Tip: Delegate work to a freelance lawyer. A freelance lawyer has the experience and expertise to take on legal work while you step away to enjoy the summer sun.

We’ve written about delegating administrative tasks to people within your office; however, if you have legal work that you KNOW will need to be done while you’re away, it can be stressful to decide who might do it. 

While letting someone else take on the heavy legal lifting may initially seem daunting. You may  think you can get it done faster or more efficiently yourself. But you’re supposed to be on vacation, right? And today’s tip is not just in preparation for a vacation… Today’s tip applies whenever you’ve got more legal work than you can handle.

Don’t let the myths of delegating stop you! Instead of being stuck in the office, if you take the time now to understand what you can delegate, you can step away to enjoy more of life and make time for the things you love.

To get started, ask yourself:

  •  Does the work really need to be done while you’re away? Clients often set unrealistic and unnecessary deadlines, so ensure everyone is clear on what really is a rush or a necessity.
  •  Does the work really need to be done by a lawyer? If you applied last week’s tip and identified work you can pass to a clerk or paralegal, start training them now so they are ready to work independently while you’re away. What templates or checklists will they need? What additional training is necessary?

If you’ve asked yourself these questions and know there is legal work that’ll have to be done while you’re on holiday - or any time that you’re busy - consider hiring a freelance lawyer.

Your Action Item: Identify a specific set of legal tasks you can outsource. Start small and build from there.

Here are some examples of what you can delegate to freelance lawyers, also called surge attorneys, to provide you with some vacation relief. But you can also use them any time to balance your workload.

  1. Hire a freelance attorney to work on a specific project or case that you know will require work while you’re going to be away.
  2. Use a freelance attorney to conduct legal research, so that time-consuming work is done and the research is waiting for you when you get back to the office.
  3. Bring on a freelance attorney to assist with document review and discovery, again, getting this time-consuming work done for you, so there’s less you have to do on your return.
  4. Have a freelance attorney attend court appearances on your behalf. Use a freelance attorney for contract review, document preparation, and drafting.

Wondering where to get started with finding a freelance lawyer you can trust? Try Flex Legal or Montage Legal Group as a place to start looking.

Bonus best practice tip: develop a relationship with your freelance lawyer, and provide checklists and practice guides so that they will follow your processes. Give them specific, clearly defined tasks and constructive feedback, and work with them long enough to develop trust and confidence.

You can delegate! Don’t let myths about delegation hold you back (or ruin your vacation). Get our free guide, 5 Myths About Delegation, and learn more. 



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