Why Can’t Attorneys “Unplug” from the Office?
Nobody wants to work from home, especially after a long day at court and in the office. You want to loosen your tie, turn on the television and enjoy your evening in peace and quiet.
Though that’s not always possible, especially in the legal profession, many attorneys take their work home with them, blurring the lines between work and home that they can scarcely tell one from the other. Why can’t attorneys unplug once they leave the office? Well, the nature of legal work is a 24-hour system, making it impossible to leave your work entirely at the office. But there are ways to minimize the amount of work you do at home.
Let Computers Do the Work for You with Legal Case Management
First, rather than working harder, try working smarter. Let a computer program do the heavy lifting. Research management and citation software helps you organize your research in an easily accessible way, formatting your citations and bibliography automatically, saving you a mountain of tedious busywork trying to cite each source by hand. There are a plethora of legal case management software programs, including Mendeley, Zotero, Evernote, Refworks & Endnote Web, and many more, including several free options for legal case management/law firm case management.
What Legal Case Management Software Does
Taking it a step further, there are law firm case management software tools which exist to automate and digitize nearly every aspect of a law firm. Some software handles:
- Mail and email management, sorting and managing all incoming and outgoing snail mail and email
- Cloud hosting of data so it is accessible anywhere in the world from any compatible device
- Calendar management providing the office with real-time calendars and appointment reminders
- Automate the firm with real-time reports, including notifications for selected changes
- Document generation to assemble and distribute documents quickly from hundreds of templates
Let Staff Do the Work for You
You didn’t go to law school to use a copy machine, so hire a legal secretary to free up your time in the office. Law firms rely heavily on legal assistants to manage day-to-day operations of the law firm, such as preparing legal correspondence, subpoenas, summons, motions and much more. This allows paralegals and lawyers to focus on the case at hand, not mundane, time-consuming tasks running off copies of case notes or faxing documents. A legal assistant with a Legal Assistant Certificate could be a valuable member of your firm, allowing you more time and flexibility to finish work BEFORE you walk through the door at home. The ideal candidate would attend legal survey courses at the University of Florida (UF Law to Survey Legal Profession S) to learn more about the legal system and what it means to be a lawyer or attorney. Even with a law firm case management software/legal case management software, you still need human beings with knowledge of how to input and extract data using those platforms. Nothing can quite replace the human touch.
Turn Off Your Work Cell Phone After Hours
If you’ve tried each of these methods and still haven’t been able to reduce the amount of time you work at home, you may need to take more drastic measures, the first of which is making sure your work phone is set to OFF. If you use your personal cell phone for work, get a cell phone that acts as your designated work line. That way when you get home, you can turn it off and enjoy the bliss of solitude. If you’re worried about an emergency, tell your colleagues to call your personal cell phone if an emergency comes up after hours.
Stay in the Office Later
If you’ve tried everything but still end up with piles of work on your desk at 5 p.m., rather than bringing that stack of work home and poisoning your place of comfort, why not stay late and finish as much as you can? Even if you arrive home at 11 p.m. absolutely exhausted, your home will still be your sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of work and once you walk through the door, you’ll know the worst part of your day is finally over. That’s much better than walking into your home and knowing you still have hours upon hours of work left before you can relax.