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Foundation of Time Mastery Three: Delegating Effectively

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | May 30, 2012

No. 842

This week we are exploring the Seven Foundations of Time Mastery for Attorneys, a book by Julie A. Fleming, attorney and consultant.  Foundation 1 involved managing your energy and Foundation 2 was about setting priorities.

Although lawyers think they are good at delegating, Fleming writes that most lawyer’s delegation skills are only passable.

“Lawyers often tend to rush through delegation, thinking more about the time savings that delegation generates and the perfect product that will emerge from the delegate’s work than about the directions and information that will reap those rewards. ”  But, of  course, poor delegation does not save time at all. It squanders it.

Successful delegation requires thought and planning.  The details of a project must be thought through completely, just as an architect designs a structure in full and writes detailed specifications before the builder has the opportunity to begin work.  The process of planning and then explaining the plan clearly cannot be rushed.  On the plus side, a well-trained paralegal will soon be able to perform certain tasks equally or better than the master.  And — this is important — she will have the time to do it promptly and you won’t.

Don’t delegate too much or too little.  And once you do, don’t micromanage the job.  Your job is not to redo the work, but to offer helpful ideas.  We’ve all worked for lawyers who could not resist over-participation.  Some insist on citing an excessive number of cases, raising too many issues and flogging arguments to death.  On the other hand, just the right amount of guidance along the way can save hours of rewriting.  How do you know how much is enough?  Experience and good communication.

Specific and reasonable deadlines should be established from the beginning. They should allow enough time to do the job and, if necessary, to fix it.





CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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