For many lawyers, the 9-5 work life is not nearly as common as a 12-hour day. With the constant pressure to meet client demands and working with partners, working around the clock happens more often than not. However, it is important to work smarter in addition to working harder. Many lawyers lose about three-quarters of their billable hours every day, spending only a little more than 2 hours per day on billable work. Ensure you are getting the most use of your time by practicing some of these time-management tips.
Implement the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is also called the Pareto Principle, and applies to nearly all industries and is especially helpful for new lawyers to understand. This rule essentially suggests that about 20 percent of your actions are responsible for about 80 percent of your results. As mentioned earlier, most lawyers only spend about 28 percent of their workday on billable projects and tasks. To help with time management, it’s important that more attention is spent on billable work. Making sure that stays a priority and letting anything else fall to the wayside will allow you to easily keep track of how your time is adding up.
Nothing breaks your focus more than repeatedly breaking away from one case to discuss another. It’s important to schedule uninterrupted time throughout the day to properly focus on a task. Additionally, schedule a certain time for appointments and to return phone calls. While there are some calls that must be taken as they come, many of them can easily be handled by a secretary or scheduled during one of your allotted call times.
Time Your Tasks
Using the Pomodoro method, time your tasks and breaks with the assistance of a kitchen timer. The ideology behind this method is to effectively manage your entire day. You start by picking a task, set the timer for 25 minutes and focus only on that task for the duration of that time. When the timer goes off, you can take a 3-5 minute break. Once you repeat this cycle three or four times, allow yourself to take a longer, 30-minute break. Ultimately, you should see an increase in your focus and productivity, without becoming drained from working long hours.
Create a Prioritized To-Do List
At the end of the day, take some time to make a list in the order it needs to be completed for the next day. While it may seem silly to spend 15 minutes creating a prioritized list, it can be a huge time saver and you can “eat the frog” and get those more difficult tasks completed at the beginning of your day.
Laws have a gravity of all their own. They determine the rules of our society, chart the penalties after our misdeeds, and lay the very foundation for how our communities function on a daily basis. Sometimes, though, these solemn laws can be remarkably silly.
Off-kilter mandates exist in every community, and are often shared predominantly via word-of-mouth gossip and blog posts that are equal parts indignant and amused. But what most people don’t necessarily realize is that some – if not all – of the laws they roll their eyes over are either taken out of context, exaggerated, or outright fabricated. Let’s take the oft-quoted “five women in a house” law as an example of the last.
If you visit a college campus and ask around, you’ll probably hear someone say that the sororities on campus aren’t permitted to have houses due to a local anti-brothel law that forbids more than five women from living in a house. Many are quite reasonably angry about this – but if you take a closer look into the county legislature, you probably won’t find that particular law on the books. One writer for the hoax-debunking site Snopes summarized her investigation into the matter as follows: “We routinely hear from students who are convinced their particular university lacks a sorority because of this non-existent law. Their vehemence aside, none have yet produced a copy of the statute they so firmly believe in, an act that would earn their city and institution of higher learning a measure of fame in the world of contemporary lore.” Sororities might encounter unfair barriers to establishing their own housing – but odds are, that block won’t be an outdated anti-brothel law.
All this said, remnants of outdated Puritanical mandates and long-passed civil cases do still float about in local and state legislature. Below, I’ve listed just a few standout lines from Ohio state law. Enjoy!
Women must not wear patent leather shoes in public.
It is illegal to fish for whales on Sunday.
It is illegal to get a fish drunk.
No civil arrests can be made on Sundays or on the 4th of July.
Conducting or participating in a duel is illegal.
You must honk whenever you pass another car.
Odd Town-Specific Laws
If a person loses their pet tiger, they must notify the authorities within an hour.
The installation or usage of slot machines in outhouses is forbidden.
Bay Village, Ohio
It is illegal to walk your cow down Lake Road.
It is illegal to catch mice without a hunting license.
It is illegal to throw a snake at another person.
About Henry Vinson
Henry Vinson is a 10,000 hour commercial pilot with Single-Engine and Multi-Engine Airplane; Rotorcraft-Helicopter; Instrument-Airplane; Flight Instructor Airplane & Flight Instructor Helicopter ratings. Henry Vinson holds a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mortuary Science from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Airplane Owner and Pilot Association, American Marketing Association, American Communications Association, and Experimental Aircraft Association.
Henry Vinson was born in 1960 in South Williamson, Kentucky. He graduated from Williamson High School in 1979, and, after attending South West Virginia Community College, he enrolled in the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. In 1982, he was appointed the Coroner for Mingo County, West Virginia.
Four years later, he became a funeral director for W. W. Chambers Funeral Homein Washington, DC. After his stint at W. W. Chambers Funeral Home, he owned and operated the largest gay escort service ever uncovered in Washington, DC at the age of 26.
In 2007, Mr. Vinson received a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University, and today he is a successful entrepreneur who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Following a successful career as a marketing and advertising consultant, Henry Vinson opted to return to school in 2014 to pursue a law degree. Vinson is currently enrolled in the Juris Doctor Program at William Howard Taft University, America’s oldest nationally accredited distance learning law school.