Modern practice systems generate a truck load of performance data. But how do we use it to help people to do better?
WIP or billings last month aren’t overly useful, because they don’t tell you why. Certainly though, they are a good general guide that there may be some kind of issue.
A particular lawyer might be naturally slow, ineffective in what he allocates effort to, insufficiently skilled, poorly supervised, lazy, too thorough, or simply mightn’t have enough work.
A good way to discover the true issue/s is to look at a single day’s work.
Get the lawyer’s time posted for the previous day (preferably detailed by matter) off the system, and have a talk; e.g., Look – it seems like you’ve been working hard in your office all day, so I don’t quite get why you only have 3 hours on the clock? What I’d like to do is sit down with you and talk through your full day in detail so we can get a handle on where the time is going – and maybe some things you can do differently.
It is a proven technique…. Because you are talking about an actual day, actual files, and you are using concrete examples in recent memory.
Agree some improvements, and tell the lawyer that you’ll do it again in a few days. You’ll be surprised at the results you can achieve.
Published: Queensland Law Society – Proctor, October 2013 (p.47)