When you graduated from law school, what did you imagine the practice of law to be like? Especially if you own your firm, my guess is you’d say your day-to-day life as a practicing attorney bears little resemblance to the picture you had in your head back then. Did you leave law school with dreams of taking routine phone calls, scheduling, ordering office supplies, and hunting for files? Of course not, yet these are the kinds of tasks that seem to creep in and fill your time.
We all know that good time management requires delegation, but I hear from lawyers all the time that they’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work. That’s usually because for most people, “delegation” means assigning a task to someone who should be capable of doing it, and hoping that is gets done. Often with mixed results.
Here are the steps for doing it and making it work:
- Define precisely what task you want to delegate.
- Make sure your employee understands what you’ve delegated.
- Explain why it needs to be done the way you want it done.
- Spend time teaching how it is to be done.
- Make sure your employee understands what’s expected.
- Set a deadline for the task to be completed, or for a progress report.
- Follow up and check on the employee’s progress.
- Get an agreement on a deadline for completion of the task.
Sounds like the process of delegation is a lot of work in itself…so how does this help you free up your time? While proper delegation requires an investment of time on the front end, when you delegate work to an employee who knows precisely what’s expected and how to do it, you end up with work that actually gets done, the right way, by someone other than you! And once you have well-trained employees and established systems, this happens over and over again.
Delegation is one of the things we discussed as part of our August 10th teleseminar for non-member attorneys. We’ll be replaying that transformational teleseminar on August 14th at 10:00am Pacific (you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information), but I’d like to know about your experiences with delegation. What’s worked for you…and what hasn’t?
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Road, Suite 240
San Diego, CA 92124