Scott Greenfield has a terrific post about the process of lawyering and billing. He calls for lawyers to stand up and be forthright about the need of simply “thinking” for a case. I couldn’t agree more.
In today’s digital age it’s easy to feel like you’re advancing the ball by sending a flurry of emails and producing tangibles like memos, letters and motions. It’s similarly easy to rationalize that you’re being productive by talking on the phone or getting face time with a client. While those are all necessary, the purpose of all that activity is what matters.
We now have an overwhelming amount of information at our fingertips. We can check email on our smartphones when we stand in line for a sandwich. We are bombarded with 24-hour news. Stopping to quietly think about strategy, why you’re filing a motion, or what the overarching theme of your case is becomes less and less common, but all the more critical.
Each Monday I schedule a time to “think” for at least a solid hour and then write down the three cases that I want to focus on that week. I find that consciously writing down my priorities helps me focus. Frequently my thinking time is while driving. I turn off the radio and ponder where I’m at with one of my three main cases. I usually don’t bill for this time, but believe it’s the most productive and valuable time spent on behalf of my client.