How a high-level perspective makes legal tasks easier
When you’re in the thick of a complicated legal matter, it can be tough to know what’s around the bend. But having an aerial view of the whole journey will help you at every step along the way and make tackling new legal processes easier.
Get up to speed quickly
When you’re faced with a completely new area of law, sometimes you don’t even know how much you don’t know. Maybe you’ve been asked to assist with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, and you need to prepare before a meeting with a more senior attorney. You need to understand the steps of the process quickly, but if you haven’t had any previous exposure to bankruptcy law, it can feel like you have a pile of puzzle pieces without the box.
A top-level view of the entire process will give you the contextual information you need to jump right in. Once you have properly oriented yourself, you can get to work quickly without getting bogged down trying to piece everything together on your own.
Prioritize what is most important
Laying out the entire process can help you determine the most essential goals and effective strategies to reach them. You can weigh the importance of each step by identifying their contingencies, which shows what you need to tackle first. If there are some tasks that you already have experience with, you can instead focus on researching the tasks that are less familiar.
For example, maybe you regularly represent small businesses, but a new client is looking to both register their business and lease a commercial space to operate out of. You have lots of experience with business registration and formation, but not much with commercial leasing. By gauging the entire scope of your client’s legal needs, you can prioritize the work that needs more attention and maximize your efficiency.
Proceed with confidence
Confidence is the key to efficiency, and clients today expect their legal counsel to give them the best guidance as quickly as possible to mitigate costs and errors. With a simple overview of the tasks contained in a legal matter, you can be sure of what has already been accomplished and what hasn’t. This will also help you answer the “why” query behind every task you do.
Let’s say your client wants to know if they can file a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets against a former employee who is using the company’s customer lists. By consulting the overview of your intellectual property tasks, you can confidently advise them about how to proceed, knowing that you have already implemented things like a non-disclosure agreement and company confidentiality policies.
When you are familiar with the entire process of a matter, you can focus on each task without worrying that you missed something. This sort of confidence would ordinarily take years of practice to build up, but a matter overview can help you get there in minutes.
Advise clients and manage their expectations
With a bird’s eye view of legal procedures, you can more effectively advise your clients. As we touched on earlier, clients often question why a certain legal task needs to happen and how long it will take. Knowing where each step will lead helps you answer those questions.
Often, clients don’t know how many steps there really are in a legal matter. Completing a complicated request could take months or even years. You can use an overview to outline for them what the whole process will look like and help them plan accordingly. Clearly communicating what is going on in the grand scheme of things will also help you temper their expectations about the timing and outcome. Being able to contextualize each task will prove to your clients that they can trust you and will allow you to work better with them.
Figuratively speaking, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. So, when the legal matter in front of you starts to feel like a trek, a bird’s eye view makes it easier to work efficiently and guide your clients well. Looking for more ways to make your legal work easier? Get a free trial of Practical Law.