Your Legal Calendaring Cheat Sheet: Counting Down the Days Until Court

Billing, Legal Technology, Practice Management

Automating everything in your firm from intake to invoice gives you the best opportunity to thrive. Those who do not embrace legal technology will soon struggle to survive. Firms that become operationally efficient, work smarter, and stay organized will outpace those who continue to rely on paper-based methods, no matter the firm’s size. In this post, we look at how legal calendar technology explicitly helps firms outpace their competition.

Why is calendar prioritization is essential?

There’s no denying the value of a legal assistant. Assigning necessary, tactical tasks to someone with a lower hourly rate is good business. What’s not good business is utilizing assistants to perform repeatable tasks better managed by technology, like legal calendaring.

Of course, prioritizing your calendar reminders is a critical function—the bigger your caseload, the more court deadlines, tasks to be completed, and schedules that need to be coordinated.

There’s no disputing that legal calendaring can be a challenge, even with a cheat sheet.  What is disputable is the most efficient way to manage your legal calendar.

How does legal calendaring software provide assistance?

Chances are, you’re already using a calendaring system (unless you’re next-level old school, in which case, you’re probably not reading this article). At the very least, your calendar tells you what meetings you have today. Hopefully, it also tells you:

  • where the meeting is—online or in-person (bonus points for map link or easy-to-find meeting link)
  • whom you’re meeting with (and how to make contact if you don’t connect)
  • a bit about the topic (case number would be fantastic)
  • how long it should take (not everything should get an automatic hour)

Even with a human assistant, you may not always get the information you need the way you want it. Compounding that frustration is the inability to producing a reasonable report of all of your appearances in every court.

“What gets scheduled gets done.” — Michael Hyatt

Why legal technology wins

When you optimize your schedule with legal technology, specifically tech equipped with legal calendaring software, details that should be consistent become consistent. Look at the bullet points above. At the bare minimum, every appointment on your calendar should contain those four pieces of information, ideally in the same consistent format. 

Great news! With the advanced calendaring features that legal practice management software provides, you can ensure that every one of your future appointments (and every attorney) can be configured the same and coordinated across the firm.

You can decide in advance how much time should be committed to different types of meetings, like client intakes or contract reviews. Plus, you’ll enjoy the benefits of always automatically associating each meeting to the relevant case or matter. In fact, with practice management software, every piece of information related to a case connects — if your client intake process is executed efficiently.

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Imagine the perfect calendar view that works for you

Everyone manages their case load differently. Your legal calendaring cheat sheet, aka dashboard, should reflect your choices. Once you find the way that best suits your personal style, you deserve to see it exactly as you imagined it to be.  

With advanced legal calendaring, you can often set up your viewing panes to fit your exact style:

  • Emails
  • Appointments
  • Reminders
  • To-do’s
  • Calls to make

Wait? Calls to make? If that’s not a separate list on your daily organizer dashboard, then you most definitely need an advanced calendaring solution. The amount of time you spend on phone calls may vary wildly depending on the type of clients you serve, the matters you focus on, and even the day of the week. Many attorneys report spending 20-25% of their day on calls, so having a list of must-complete follow-up calls is essential to keeping your day on track.

Distraction Mitigation

By optimizing your legal calendaring dashboard to align with your personal preferences, distraction mitigation begins. Next, you can turn off alert notifications. Then, add a quiet or “meeting-free” time to your calendar. And even resist the urge to check social media. A daily dashboard built to your liking improves focus to help you stay on track.

Adding color to your life

Do you associate specific colors with different parts of your job? A remarkable feature of advanced calendaring is the ability to color-code your calendar in the way that best suits you. If nothing immediately comes to mind regarding color-coding choices, start here with this article on color theory for ideas. When assigning colors, you can color-code by “The What” (type of event or case) or by “The Who” (individual, not the band).

Help for hardcopies

Sometimes you just want or need a printed copy. No judgment here. Some people feel the greatest satisfaction by physically crossing items off a list. Others are concerned about wi-fi challenges on their road. No matter the reason, know that you can print anything you want from your digital desktop organizer. Some legal case management software experts have indicated that “to-do reports” are commonly created and printed at law firms. When you want to print a report, you can use existing templates and customize them to your liking. From there, it’s a simple print and go.

Give the assist to legal technology

Your job as an attorney is challenging enough. You’ve got a heavy caseload, tons of details to manage, endless interruptions, and a short-handed headcount with fast-approach deadlines. Your assistant can complete many more important duties for you and the firm if they’re not focusing on automatable tasks. Like, managing assignments that require actual human intervention. 

Do yourself a favor and level up your legal calendaring today so you can build your perfect organizer.