Law firms offer interesting programs for their incoming associates. They teach the basics of surviving your first few weeks, how to work the copier, and even etiquette courses. What they don’t teach the newbies is how to actually get work done.
What is GTD?
I’ve posted about this a few times in the past. It’s a productivity system that focuses on doing things in the appropriate “context.” It’s a way to be more productive and group things in their logical place of actually doing them. You can learn tons about it online.
Matt’s GTD for faculty
He went through the basics of GTD with three new faculty members at a university. Then he went through an intensive workshop with each of them. Finally, he provided follow-up coaching.
The results – they want to expand the program. The faculty members loved it, as did their supervisor.
Use it for associates
This got me thinking: why don’t lawyers learn this? Everyone knows that associates have lots of things to juggle. Appointments to make, phone calls to return, emails to send, documents to review, and meetings to attend. If they had some formal training with a solid productivity system, wouldn’t everyone benefit?
Matt mentions that he developed a set of faculty-specific “contexts.” We could make these for lawyers, too. You have contexts such as “phone,” “computer,” and “home.” These are pretty standard. You put a task in the group where it fits (what you need to get it done). Lawyers could add on “court.” Maybe you need some books, so you can have “library.” It’s pretty simple.
I wonder why law firms don’t do something like this. Here’s my speculation: they don’t actually have much to gain from associates being more productive. Partners bill the hours out at $XXX, regardless of what actually got done. Sure, they may cut the bill a little here and there, but probably not a ton. So maybe it’s not worth the cost of teaching productivity. The firm stands to lose more by hiring a consultant to teach GTD.
Do you have any thoughts on this? Am I being too harsh on firm lawyers?
[tags]legal andrew, gtd, matt’s idea blog, law firm[/tags]
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