Monday Practice Tip for Young Lawyers- Using Your Calendar

Hello all, and welcome back to the blog, where the space time continuum ceases to exist and we can provide your Monday posts whenever we feel like it!   I owe you two of these tips, and we will get to one now about how to effectively use your calendar.

Every firm, large and small, presumably has a software program that keeps a calendar.  Some of the more popular ones are Microsoft Outlook and Time Matters.  Everyone has these things but not everyone knows how to use them.  Here are a few tips:

1) Never look at the “daily” calendar!  These programs’ calendar functions usually allow you either to look at the day, the week or the month (and sometimes beyond).  The prudent young lawyer does not live day to day, he lives week to week or sometimes month to month.  When you get to the office on a Monday morning, you should have a working knowledge of everything that must be completed the entire week, including appointments that may eat up your time.  You should also be aware of all other significant hearings and deadlines for the next 30 days.  Many judges these days require courtesy copies of all motions a week or more in advance of a hearing.  You don’t want to be the guy causing unnecessary overnight delivery costs because you are not looking ahead on the calendar (in fact you should be calendaring dates to send courtesy copies too!)

2) Train your assistant!  I have worked with five different assistants in my eight years of practice.  Whenever I am assigned a new assistant, I sit down with them on their first day, often over lunch, and before that meeting is over my new assistant is well aware that keeping the calendar precise and up-to-date on a daily basis is their #1 priority.  In fact it’s important enough to be their #1, #2, and #3 priorities.  This sounds obvious but it isn’t.  Assistants often are have more to do than they have time to do it, leaving them to triage to-dos and leaving some for the next day.  It’s important for them to know what’s most important to you.

3) Don’t assume your colleagues are looking at your calendar or even their own!  For various reasons, don’t ever take the calendar for granted with respect to your colleagues.  Don’t ever assume they know you’re going to be on vacation even though you put it on the calendar, and don’t ever assume they’re as aware of upcoming deadlines just because they’re on the calendar.  The calendar is no substitute for traditional communicating. 

Explore posts in the same categories: Practice Tips for Young Attorneys

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