The Importance of Delegating at a Law Firm

To a large extent, private litigation and legal representation are industries of workaholics. Most successful attorneys enjoy the challenges this type of working environment presents, which can be lucrative when done effectively. That said, there is only so much an individual person can reasonably handle, no matter how talented and hard-working they are. Piling too many tasks on a single employee—or yourself as an owner—is a surefire way to harm your law firm’s chances of long-term success.

The importance of delegating at a law firm cannot be overstated. However, delegating is no simple matter to accomplish in a consistent and sustainable way. By understanding the purpose and benefits of delegation as well as what it looks like when done effectively, you could have an easier time ensuring your law firm runs as smoothly as possible while minimizing stress on you and your employees.

Deciding What Tasks Should Be Delegated

In a law firm, it is essential to know which tasks and obligations should and shouldn’t be delegated. More complex and important work should be left to those in higher positions.

Work requiring more practical experience or legal knowledge should be reserved for more experienced partners or the firm’s owner. Likewise, tasks that could substantially impact a case should not be given to lower-level employees who may not have prior experience with such significant matters.

Conversely, tasks that need to be completed but are neither important to a case’s outcome nor especially complex are perfect for delegation. Letting other employees handle these kinds of tasks can free up experienced partners and attorneys for more important work, minimizing stress and maximizing efficiency across the board.

Determining the specific capabilities of each employee within a law firm is an essential part of effective delegation. However, it can be just as crucial to be aware of varying motivation levels among employees and to delegate and supervise accordingly.

For example, an unmotivated but highly capable employee could handle more complex tasks on paper. However, they might not be the best fit for something that needs to be completed urgently. An inexperienced but highly motivated worker might need additional supervision but delegating an urgent task to them could be a great opportunity for mentorship and pay dividends down the line as an investment in the firm’s future.

Following Up on Delegated Tasks

Beyond these basic components of effective delegating of important tasks in a law firm, it can also be vital to consider factors like:

  • Whether the person has enough time to complete the task and produce high-quality results
  • Whether there are clear and thorough instructions about completing the delegated task
  • The number of stages for a particular task and what is necessary to complete each one
  • How many other people are involved, and what contributions they might need to make
  • How “complete” the final product needs to be—an outline or spreadsheet, a rough draft, a completed presentation, etc.

This may seem like a complicated endeavor but factoring these and other relevant considerations into a standardized and streamlined process can make effective delegation a central part of your successful business.