Practice Management & Organization

AuthorWendy Griesdorf
Practice Management & Organization 71
Practice Management &
Much has been written recently on practice management and it is likely that, at an early sta ge in your
career, your law off‌ice will run a semina r or encourage you to attend a professional program on the
topic. In order to develop good work habits, it is wise to begin to learn about practice management as
soon as possible, whether you are a summer student, an articling st udent, or an associate. There are
three areas of practice management and off‌ice organization that it will be benef‌icial for you to focus
on: creati ng a stress-free (or s tress-reduced) work envi ronment; avoiding profession al liability; and in-
creasing eff‌iciency. These areas are connected to one another; advice pertain ing to one area will often
pertain to the other areas as well. It is always a good idea to keep these areas in mind, even when you
are a student, so that you will ref‌lect upon your developing work style and observe the habits of the
lawyers with whom you work.
The stage you have reached in your law career will likely deter mine the area upon which you
focus most of your attention. For instance, an articling st udent might focus on reducing stress and
pay relatively little attention to professional liability, except to learn why certain systems and routines
are adhered to by lawyers. An associate, on the other hand, might be more interested in eff‌iciency. A
lawyer once made the following insightful observation: until you have completed a closing, a motion,
or any assignment at least once, you will have no idea how to accomplish the task eff‌iciently. An associ-
ate, because she will have some f‌ile experience, will be able to focus on eff‌ic iency. It is a truth univer-
sally acknowledged that one of the best methods for reducing stress is to be eff‌icient. A hi gh level of
eff‌iciency will enable you to deal with a heavy workload without feeling that you are overburdened.
The most important benef‌it to be derived from attending seminars or reading advice on practice
management, aside from learning some useful tips, is an increased awareness of how you organize
your workload, your off‌ice, your f‌iles, and your day. A good deal of the advice given at seminars or in
books on practice management is intuitive. Most of the advice must be tailored to suit an individual’s
specif‌ic off‌ice environment and work preferences. Slavishly following advice may backf‌ire if you do
not make sure that the practice management system you design for yourself is attuned to your spec if‌ic
work habits and the level of responsibility you have in the off‌ice.

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