Marty Dolan, principal at Dolan Law and his associate Karen Munoz represent victims of wrongful death and personal injury. His column “Law and Wellness,” appears in the Chicago Lawyer and her column appears regularly in the Law Bulletin. This week’s column is written by Karen Munoz.
It’s officially over. Traditional end of summer that is. I can feel the shift in people’s attitudes as they walk to work. While some of us are lamenting the end of it and wondering where it went I think we can take the beginning of fall and embrace it.
One of the areas I know I will be focusing on is the office and finding ways to be as efficient as possible. Fall seems just as good a time to try and find ways to improve the ways things run. I am not sure if other smaller firms have a similar practice but I wanted to share some of the steps I believe are useful. It is not an all-encompassing list by any means but for those of us who litigate cases, I think listing out short and long terms goals is beneficial. Make a list of every single client and case in your office.
Go over where each case is with precision. Determine what needs to be done and then implement deadlines. Involve everyone in your office. Scheduling plays a huge part in moving litigation along. Communication with staff, clients, experts and consultants are key, and can play a huge role later on when depositions and ultimately trial is scheduled. Streamlining what actually needs to be accomplished will not only move cases quicker so they do not languish in between case managements, but gets them closer to eventual settlement or a trial date which is not years away. Knowing where a case is heading will make it easier to get there. Not having a clear plan of action and not anticipating potential roadblocks does not help anyone. Involving everyone who works on a case early on is very helpful in accomplishing litigation goals.
Keeping in touch with clients on a regular basis, especially when keeping on top of their medical treatment in a personal-injury lawsuit, can avoid last minute scrambling. Lining up depositions and keeping your experts apprised of crucial dates can also save you from unnecessary headaches or unavailability issues. Being proactive at every phase of a case is important.
Developing good working relationships with key players in litigation will also help streamline litigation. The only way to accomplish these goals is to have fresh look at the cases in your office. There is no better time than the fall when the seemingly carefree days of summer are dwindling down and a new season is right on our doorstep. Not only will this process ensure client satisfaction but we can save ourselves a lot of unnecessary stress and uncertainty. Less stress and uncertainty as litigators is a goal we can all surely agree is a noble one.