Advice for Solo Attorneys on How to Stay Organized

by Melanie Fischer on June 14, 2016

messy-officeDo you ever feel like you have a million things to do? If you’re a busy solo attorney, you probably experience this feeling several times a day. Not only must you attend meetings, complete work for multiple clients, prepare for trials, and be present in court at specific times, but you are also responsible for your firm’s accounting, marketing, administrative tasks, and more. When it comes to running a solo law practice, there’s hardly ever a dull moment!

Owning and operating a solo firm can be a great experience. It can provide you with the opportunity to build your practice into a highly successful enterprise. It also lets you to be your own boss – which can allow for flexibility with your work schedule. But as most solo attorneys realize, running a successful small business requires organization. Without organization, it can be much more difficult to succeed.

Following are tips on how to stay organized as you work to develop your solo law practice into a highly successful operation:

Keep your desk clean and clear. It’s incredibly easy to turn a clean and clear desk into one that’s cluttered and messy. If your desk becomes disorganized during the day, make sure to spend a few minutes each afternoon tidying it before you stop working for the day. A clean and clear desk is less overwhelming – and a clean desk is a nice sight to see when you are ready to start working the next morning.

Make sure to keep paperwork in order. Most people do not like to spend time filing papers into folders. But when you’re an attorney, this is a necessary and required task. Disorganized paperwork can easily get lost or thrown away. If you do not have an assistant to handle this job, make sure to spend time each day placing papers in the correct spot. When paperwork is organized, it’s easier to find items when you need them.

Create a daily routine. Many solo attorneys find it helpful to create a regular daily routine. For example, they may use the first hour of their work day to check and respond to e-mail, and they then reserve afternoon hours for client meetings. This type of routine can help you feel like each work day has a set structure – which can help keep you more organized.

Hire someone if you need help. If you find that staying organized is too difficult, don’t let it cause unnecessary stress. If possible, hire someone to help you file paperwork, answer your phone, and create and send your client invoices. Hiring someone for just a handful of hours per week could make a significant difference in your ability to effectively organize and manage your law firm.

It can be difficult to maintain a successful solo law practice if you do not stay organized. Clutter on your desk or an inaccurate calendar can lead to missed deadlines and missed appointments. As most attorneys know, missed deadlines or appointments can have serious consequences. Keeping yourself organized is always essential. The key to organizational success is finding a system that works for you and sticking to it. If you notice that an aspect of your system is not working, pinpoint the issue – and then come up with a workable solution.


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