A new year is upon us, and with it comes another 365 days of opportunities. Traditionally, the start of a new year is seen as a chance to shift away from bad practices and start anew with a fresh, positive outlook, and for lawyers, that doesn’t just apply to their personal lives but to their firms’ operations as well.
With that being said, if you are struggling to chart a new course for 2024, here are five suggested resolutions that could help you and your firm be more productive and less stressed in the upcoming year:
1. Get Caught Up on Pending Cases
First, consider making 2024 the year that you get your firm’s files and cases moving toward resolutions. You can start by identifying files that are open and pending resolutions, and once you do that, take the time to see what needs to happen to move each case forward. Finally, formulate a plan to get cases that are stuck moving again.
Starting the year off by moving cases that have been languishing along can do more than build positive momentum. In closing cases left open at the end of 2023, you are making literal and figurative room for new ones in 2024.
2. Organize Your Firm’s Files
Having your firm’s records and files organized is not simply a good business practice that can help you stay on top of your obligations; it has a positive psychological effect as well. A pile of papers sitting on your desk can feel overwhelming, but once those papers have been properly filed and your desk cleared of them, you’re likely to feel more “in control” of your cases.
Getting things organized will undoubtedly take time and effort, but switching to an electronic case management system can help make the task easier. If you are already using such a system, hiring a remote assistant can give you extra human resources to accomplish the goal without having to divert all your attention away from other notable matters.
3. Schedule Time for Deep Work
You may have heard the term “deep work” before. Coined by Cal Newport, it refers to the types of tasks that require you to engage with them mentally in order to overcome the problems they present. Deep work is distinguishable from the routine, everyday tasks you do that require very little thought or innovation.
That said, deep work takes time, and it may seem counterintuitive to deliberately take on tasks requiring additional work if you are already feeling pressed for time. Nevertheless, deep work stretches your abilities and makes you grow as an attorney, therefore making it an investment in both yourself and your personal development.
4. Invest in a New Technology
The old impression that the legal industry is slow to adapt to new trends is finally fading away, seeing as how most, if not all, jurisdictions have adopted new technology within the last few years. For example, in many jurisdictions, you must electronically file pleadings and documents with the court and must consent to receive electronic notices.
With the shift away from physical files and paper pleadings, the number of programs, apps, and other electronic technologies for lawyers to use has increased exponentially. A quick internet search can lead you to a slew of case management tools, word processing software, trial organization and presentation programs, and other tools that are bound to help you accomplish your work more efficiently and effectively.
On top of all of that is the fact that the technological landscape in the legal industry is constantly evolving. With that said, consider making it a goal in 2024 to look at the current technology offerings for lawyers and integrate one or two of them into your practice.
5. Rethink Your Workforce
Just as the practice of law is becoming more electronic and technologically based, the legal support workforce is shifting to more remote work. Lawyers are finding that many tasks traditionally performed by on-site paralegals, legal assistants, and accountants can be completed just as well by trained employees working from home.
If you are struggling to hire qualified employees to work in person at your firm, now may be the perfect time to consider incorporating a remote workforce. Using remote workers allows you to employ quality talent regardless of geographical location, and beyond benefits, there may be cost savings as well.
A remote worker can be hired as an independent contractor as opposed to a traditional employee, which means you may not have to offer benefits like health insurance or sick pay, and the time you would spend keeping pay records would decrease since you would not be responsible for calculating and withholding remote workers’ taxes.
Woven Legal Is Here to Support You in 2024 and Beyond
No matter where your firm stands, setting goals for the future can help you from a psychological standpoint as well. The practice of goal setting helps you remain focused on the future instead of being held back in the past, reminding you that mistakes happen but are rarely fatal and that as long as you are improving yourself and your firm, you will be successful.
Woven Legal is here to support you in your journey toward becoming the best lawyer you can be with the most effective firm possible in 2024. Our website is full of informative articles about emerging trends in the legal industry that you may find helpful. We also discuss lawyer well-being and how you can manage the stresses of legal practice without burning out.
When you are ready to make the transition to a remote workforce, Woven Legal is here to help. We connect lawyers and law firms of all sizes with paralegals, legal assistants, and other support professionals who can assist your firm remotely. Book a discovery call with Woven Legal today so we can get to know you and your needs and show you the benefits we can bring to your firm.