Time Management for Attorneys (9 Management Tips + Tools)

 In Briefpoint Features

Time Management for Attorneys (9 Management Tips + Tools)

Effective time management is the foundation of a successful legal practice and a positive work-life balance. Managing time effectively helps you put more value into the work you do for clients.

For many lawyers, time freedom seems like a far-fetched goal given the demands of the job. However, with a  few time management strategies, you’ll be well on your way to establishing that elusive “work/life balance.”.

man holding a clock in front of his face

How Does Time Management Affect Your Practice?

Efficient time management does more than just help you meet deadlines. It affects client satisfaction, impacts your firm’s bottom line, and plays a crucial role in your well-being.

A lawyer who’s on top of their schedule can deliver prompt, high-quality work, leading to happier clients and more referrals. Conversely, poor time management can lead to rushed jobs, missed opportunities, and burnout.

laptop, notebooks, sticky notes, a pencil

4 Most Common Hindrances to Effective Time Management

For many people working in the legal industry, almost every case or task requires a lot of time commitment. Most attorneys put in 50, 40, or sometimes even 80 hours into their workweeks.

Of course, it’s a natural aspect of the trade, but even if you’re putting in a lot of time, that doesn’t always mean you’re working efficiently. Additionally, bad time management often leads to poor work-life balance, which comes with its unique downsides.

Before we get into how you can improve your time management, let’s discuss the possible reasons why it might be lacking:

Poor Delegation of Tasks

Many attorneys struggle with delegation, often feeling that they need to handle everything personally to ensure it’s done correctly. However, lack of delegation can quickly lead to burnout and poor use of tools available, including staff that are hired to handle routine tasks.

Outdated Processes

The legal industry is notorious for clinging to traditional methods, but adherence to outdated processes can be a significant time drain. Whether it’s manual document filing, reliance on paper-based systems, or avoiding new legal tech solutions, these outdated practices can slow you down considerably.


Procrastination is a common challenge that affects many people, not just attorneys. If you wait until the last minute to start on tasks, you may be setting yourself up for missed deadlines and even more stress.

There are a lot of possible reasons why this happens, but procrastination often stems from feeling overwhelmed by a task or fearing failure.

Inaccurate Time Estimates

Effective time management requires accurate estimates of how long tasks will take. Underestimating the time needed for tasks can disrupt your entire schedule, leading to work piling up and deadlines being missed.

Maximizing Efficiency With Discovery Document Automation

Drafting discovery response and request documents can take hours, if not days. It depends on the matter you’re responding to and how much paperwork you would have to go through to draft the entire document. Whatever the case may be, manual discovery drafting takes too much time to be efficient.

Automation is the solution to this long-standing problem and a great way to manage time more effectively. With AI automation tools, legal professionals can upload documents and let the machine learning system extract information, add objections or responses, and then prepare the document in the proper format. So, instead of hours, you can have your response or request documents ready in minutes.

woman working next to a clock

9 Best Time Management Tips for Lawyers for Better Work-Life Balance

Achieving an optimal work-life balance is a never-ending challenge for attorneys. However, by employing strategic time management techniques, lawyers can enhance their productivity while ensuring they have time for personal pursuits.

Here are some of the best time management tips to help manage your time more effectively:

1. Prioritize tasks based on importance

Understanding that not all tasks have equal importance is crucial in time management. Start by identifying which tasks require your immediate attention and which can be postponed or even delegated.

In doing so, you can focus on what truly matters instead of spending valuable time on less critical activities.

2. Keep your goals realistic

Setting achievable goals helps keep your workload manageable and prevents you from feeling overwhelmed. Break down larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks with specific deadlines. Adopting this strategy can help you avoid procrastination and set up a workflow you can follow more easily.

3. Use digital calendars

Make your digital calendar your go-to for organizing your schedule. Regularly update it with all your deadlines, appointments, and personal commitments, and consider sharing it with support staff. This habit helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and allows you to visually assess your availability for taking on new tasks.

4. Embrace the Pomodoro technique

This time management technique involves working in focused intervals (typically 25 minutes or longer), followed by a short break. These intervals, known as “Pomodoros”, encourage deep focus and productivity by creating a sense of urgency and minimizing distractions. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break to recharge.

5. Learn when to say “no”

Recognizing your capacity and refusing additional tasks when your plate is already full is vital to preventing burnout and optimizing your schedule. Politely decline requests that you don’t have the bandwidth for to maintain a high quality of work for your current commitments.

6. Master the art of delegation

Evaluate your team’s skills and delegate tasks accordingly. Delegation is not about offloading work you don’t want to do; it’s about efficiently managing resources to ensure all tasks are completed most effectively.

For example, you can let your assistant handle non-urgent client communications so that you don’t have to spend the whole day answering queries.

7. Set boundaries to limit interruptions

Interruptions, while sometimes unavoidable in busy law firms, can severely disrupt your workflow. Designate specific times for checking emails and taking calls to minimize these disruptions. Inform colleagues and clients of these windows to help manage their expectations and reduce the frequency of interruptions.

8. Utilize time-blocking

Time-blocking involves dedicating specific blocks of time to different tasks or activities throughout your day. This technique forces you to make intentional decisions about how you spend your time. Allocate time blocks for deep work, administrative tasks, billable hours, and even breaks.

This way, Time you can ensure that you dedicate sufficient time to high-priority work while also preserving time for rest and personal activities. It encourages a disciplined approach to your day, where you’re less likely to get sidetracked by less important tasks or procrastination.

9. Incorporate technology into your workflow

Adopt tech solutions that can help you reduce time spent on tedious tasks or improve your overall efficiency. There are plenty of legal AI tools that take over certain tasks, such as document automation, contract drafting, and client management.

two women working together

Automating Document Preparation

One of the most tedious aspects of litigation is the discovery phase, and if you do it the traditional way, you might spend hours preparing documents instead of tackling more challenging tasks.

Briefpoint recognized this challenge and created a way to streamline document preparation. With this AI-powered tool, you can automate the preparation of discovery response and request documents. Lawyers who use Briefpoint save an average of three hours per document, allowing them more time for other tasks–or just life in general.

Improve Your Discovery Process with Briefpoint

Discovery responses cost firms $23,240, per year, per attorney. $23,240 estimate assumes an associate attorney salary of $150,000 (including benefits – or $83 an hour), 20 cases per year/per associate, 4 discovery sets per case, 30 questions per set, 3.5 hours spent responding to each set, and 1800 hours of billable hours per year.

Under these assumptions, you save $20,477 using Briefpoint, per year, per attorney.

Test Briefpoint yourself by scheduling a demo here.

FAQs About Time Management for Attorneys

How can I start improving my time management skills?

Begin by auditing how you currently spend your time and identify areas for improvement. Adopt one or two strategies or tools at a time to see what works best for you.

Is it really necessary to use technology to manage my time better?

While it’s possible to improve time management without technology, the right tools can significantly enhance your efficiency and productivity.

How can I maintain a work-life balance as an attorney?

Prioritize your tasks, set boundaries for work hours, and make time for personal activities. Remember, taking care of yourself improves your performance at work.



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