Time Management and Lawyers in the 21st Century

As a proponent of RSS, I try my best to follow the RSS feeds from a number of “very active” BLOGs. Recent postings on SLAW and other BLOGs have highlighted a problem with RSS – it’s a great way to divert content from bloated in boxes, but it’s just not as intuitive as email for many lawyers.

Perhaps more importantly (for me personally), the RSS vs. email issue merely illustrates the bigger issue – how can lawyers spend productive days in the office given the ever increasing demands on their time and attention? From emails and RSS whose only purpose is to provide “current awareness” to requests from clients, colleagues, friends and family (via email, phone calls and personal visits), is there ever any time left in the day just to do work?

Ever in search of the answer to managing the unmanageable, I am currently reading “Total Workday Control using Microsoft Outlook: The Eight Best Practices of Task and E-Mail Management” by Michael Linenberger. My interest in the book is in its combination of common sense work flow discussions matched to detailed instructions on how to customize Outlook settings. Having experimented with other time management programs and processes, I am currently of the view that Outlook – the cause of much of the chaos – should offer some hope of a solution.

Much as I applaud innovations like blogs and wikis, will lawyers ultimately thank us for providing more and more information if we don’t also help them manage their time?


  1. I wrote a post a while back on how we need to cull our flow of information back to a manageable level. I still believe this. Every professional, and not just lawyers, needs to define their personal ‘information need’ (vs ‘information wants’) – a topic that gets endless play in Library Schools — and is still very relevant. The media alone can’t be the culprit. A lawyer could spend their entire day reading newspapers, or over researching an interesting topic in the Library. Time management is still critical.

    As to RSS, perhaps in the future, taking ‘raw feeds’ will go to the wayside. Filtering tools, and search feeds can reduce the noise we consume. Many just have to learn to use the tools to do so.