Cloud Commuting: Managing your Firm from Afar

From going to conferences, meeting with clients, or taking cases to trial, attorneys may be out of the office more often than not. When you are on the road, it can be challenging to get any work done. But if you do your research and plan ahead of time, you may find that you’re even more productive while traveling than you are at your desk.

Find time to work you’ll know you have available.

One of the best ways to improve your efficiency is to plan to work at times you know you’ll have available. If you’re flying out to represent a claimant in court and you know you’ll be waiting for your flight for an hour, bring along your laptop and notebook to prepare for the hearing. While unwinding in your hotel room, you can respond to pertinent emails. If you’re on the plane, where there’s often no Wi-Fi, you can still look over paperwork relating to the hearing.

Use equipment that helps you work on the go.

Your smartphone can be your greatest ally when traveling. A simple feature is using your phone for dictation. When you arrive at your hotel room and compose your thoughts on the upcoming hearing, your phone can use voice recognition technology to convert your speech into text. This makes it easy to email notes to your paralegals or secretaries back at the office.

You can also manage your cases through your smartphone. Most case management software, such as eLuminate, is mobile-friendly. This allows you to review any documents associated with your case, all email correspondence with your client, and track any billable hours for future invoices – all on your phone

Be proactive while away from the office.

If you’re managing your law firm, it may be challenging to stay available on the road. To be sure that your presence is still known, be sure to reach out to your staff while out of the office by: checking in on day-to-day activities, requesting updates on other pending cases, and offering assistance if they need it.

To make it feel like you’re still part of the team while away, consider conferencing into calls a couple of minutes ahead of time just to catch up with your team before discussing business. This will remind your colleagues you haven’t forgotten about the firm while you’re away, and you’re still invested in what’s going on when you’re not there.

Prioritize what you want to do while traveling.

Let’s face it: It will be impossible for you to visit every attraction in a new city, prepare notes for your upcoming hearing, and make a conference call with your firm’s partners all in one night. Stretching yourself too thin will wear you down and make for an unpleasant trip. To best utilize your time away from the office, make a short list of everything you must do while away. Consider doing one non-work related activity, like going to a great restaurant or visiting a museum.

If possible, ask locals what they would do if they only had a couple of hours to spend! That will give you the best chance of having some fun while out of state for a hearing. Best of all, instead of visiting tourist hot-spots, you’ll likely find hidden gems in a new city.