3 Ways to Foster Law Firm Team Collaboration

//3 Ways to Foster Law Firm Team Collaboration

3-Ways-to-Foster-Law-Firm-Team-CollaborationNearly every business, regardless of the industry it is in or its size, has fallen victim to unnecessary, time-wasting meetings and struggled with teams that don’t collaborate as well as they should. Because time is money in a small law firm, it is especially important for lawyers, paralegals and other law firm staff to work together effectively and efficiently, but we all know there are many barriers that keep that dream from becoming a reality. Luckily, there are a few easy ideas you can put in place that will help everyone in your law firm work together in a more productive manner.

Want to amp up your team’s productivity today? Here are three ways you can start fostering collaboration at your small law firm right away:

1. Discuss Expectations and Goals

Before work on a new matter or project begins, take the time to discuss in detail the expectations of each team member, then decide on a few short-term and long-term goals. By clearly defining project roles and expectations, team members will know how much work is expected of them, who they can look to for support and what part of the project they’re responsible for. Once your team knows what and how much they’re working on, having pre-set goals will help keep everyone on the same page, including you.

2. Come Prepared for Meetings

It’s happened to all of us–we walk into a meeting ready to discuss upcoming projects, tasks and to-dos, but somehow wind up using the time to chat about personal things, catch up with colleagues or discuss an off-topic work related matter.  Not only is this habit unproductive, it also limits the progress of the entire firm. In order to keep this from happening, create an agenda for your team prior to meetings. Outline what needs to be discussed and what everyone should do in preparation. This will help with staying on task, keeping meetings shorter and more productive than before. In addition, if everyone is completely prepared to discuss the topic of focus, you’ll be able to collaborate better and come up with more thoughtful ideas.

3. Use Digital Tools

Digital tools can make team collaboration efforts easier and more efficient, especially if one or more people are working away from the office. Smokeball’s cloud-based case management software gives lawyers and paralegals the ability to work from anywhere, granting them access to every detail of every matter, whenever they’re working, wherever they are. Smokeball also keeps all of your emails on the same digital file, ensuring you don’t lose track of anything important your team needs from you.

Photo Credit: nrcgov via Flickr Creative Commons 

By |October 7th, 2014|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.