The dangers of poor mental health in law firms have made plenty of headlines lately, and for good reason—poor mental health is more costly than many realise. When individuals face depression, burnout, and other challenges at work, there’s a huge cost. According to one government-commissioned study, the cost of poor mental health for employers is estimated at between £33 billion and £42 billion per year.
For lawyers, this challenge is especially poignant. Per the 2018 Legal Trends Report, the average full-time lawyer works nearly 50 hours per week—75% of lawyers surveyed for the report also reported working outside of regular business hours, and 39% said that this negatively affected their personal lives.
There are many levers you can pull to take care of your mental health as a lawyer, but making sure you have the time and space to take care of yourself (i.e., having good work-life balance) is a critical one. Lawyers may be spending a lot of time at work, but the Legal Trends Report also found that they’re only recording 2.4 hours of billable time per day on average—the rest of this time goes to administrative work, business development, and other tasks necessary for running a law firm.
Streamlining—or even automating—daily tasks, can go a long way towards helping lawyers save time, relieve stress, and achieve a better work-life balance.
Here are three ways to save time and boost your mental health as a solicitor.
1. Track time in real time
Instead of waiting until the end of the day to tally up time entries (and inevitably scrambling to get it all done and forgetting where some of your time went), track your billable hours throughout the day. Using a timer can help you stay focused, and tracking your time in real time ensures that billable work isn’t lost.
Technology can help with this. For example, Clio’s easy-to-use Timekeeper makes it simple to track time from wherever you are and immediately assign time entries to a case. (Don’t worry—it’s easy to add any time entries you’ve missed at the end of the day too).
2. Automate document creation
If you (or your staff) are still creating letters and documents from scratch, you’re spending more time than you need to on document drafting. Plenty of software offer tools that allow you to auto-generate common documents from templates, saving valuable time and removing worry over the risk of a wrong address or misspelled name.
To take things a step further, you can automatically generate documents from templates with information from contacts and matters in Clio—for even more peace of mind.
3. Generate invoices
If there’s one thing lawyers could stand to spend less time on, it’s billing.
We’ve heard from many law firms that generating invoices and sending out bills can take hours. At the close of a case, lawyers have done the hard work and just want to get paid.
With today’s legal technology, billing can be a matter of minutes, not days.
Cloud-based tools like Clio let you quickly generate and review bills, and send them to clients online, so you can finish your bills more quickly, and keep your mental health in check.
Manage your time, manage your energy
The legal profession is a demanding one, but you don’t have to go it alone. Look for ways to make your daily tasks more efficient with technology, and you’ll be better positioned to achieve a better work-life balance and care for your mental health. Use this list as a starting point, but keep looking for ways to make your day-to-day more streamlined.
With cloud-based technology, it’s easier than ever to automate tasks, save time, and care for your mental health at work. Learn more about the basics of cloud computing in this post, The Quick Guide to Cloud Computing for Law Firms.
Nick Francis leads growth marketing for Clio in the UK. A four-year veteran of the technology industry, Nick is passionate about educating lawyers on using tech to improve their lives and practices.