Law firms manage a plethora of tasks in a given day. Completing memos, scheduling meetings with clients, preparing filings, sending mail, reviewing and archiving documents, billing, and occasionally even practicing law. Lawyers live and die by their calendars, their deadlines, and their deliverables. Task management is an important skill most lawyers begin to deliver in their first year of law school.
But how do you manage the task management? Deadlines are comprised of milestones, deliverables, and of tasks. Every big job is made up of a number of small jobs. How those individual smaller jobs are approached is what is called a ‘workflow’.
You can probably envision how your average workflow unfolds for simple tasks, such as brushing your teeth in the morning, but, just to belabor the point unnecessarily:
Each individual task makes up the workflow of my morning routine brushing my teeth. In this example, I would occasionally have a problem; because I would occasionally skip the next to last step and not put my toothbrush away. This annoyed my significant other; so, she sought a tool to help me reinforce my workflow and ensure I hit all the appropriate steps. In this instance, the tool was a batman-themed toothbrush holder; so that I would remember to not leave my disgusting toothbrush on the bathroom counter.
That’s an admittedly, silly example, but it’s important to be mindful on how you design your workflows, because through repetition workflows become habits. Workflows exist whenever a task must be completed–just like the habits they become –they can be helpful or a liability. A workflow for document management might be a multi-step process involving scanning, copying, filing and notation in a practice management system, or it could be dropping a piece of paper into a banker box in the corner. Both are valid as workflows, but only one of those processes is going to help find that document a year from now.
Tools can help define an efficient and effective workflow. ShareFile lets you create and design custom workflows that meet your individual needs. Do you need to have multiple parties agree on new contract language? A custom workflow can require cascading approvals. Need to double check that letter before it goes out under signature? That’s the last step in the document approval process.
The legal community deals with a lot of very time sensitive and important information. Lawyers deal with thousands of pages of documents which need to be stored and shared securely. There’s never enough time for everything that needs to get completed, and there are always far too many balls in the air at any given time. But a firm that has designed and implemented custom workflows that enhance efficiency and enforce all required checks can get more done in less time and be secure that they are not leaving their toothbrush on the counter.