No one can dispute the importance of pro bono legal work. To the poorest and most vulnerable of society, it represents the only path to legal action; while for lawyers, it can be an enriching experience that improves your professional standing in the community. However, pro bono work can prove time-consuming for Australian lawyers, detracting from cases that pay the bills. Last financial year, the Australian Pro Bono Centre noted that major law firms undertook over 370,000 hours of pro bono work, averaging 35 hours per lawyer in each firm.
This is a significant amount of time to devote to unpaid work, so lawyers need to ensure that they are efficient. Voice Recognition are an industry leader in designing time-saving dictation software for lawyers, so we have compiled advice that will help legal professionals integrate pro bono into their day-to-day while still saving time:
- Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
Managing what you need to do over your working day is key. Prioritising important tasks first will mean that you proportion your attention to your pro bono and other cases equally. If you are presented with an emergency task, try do it first – it will make you dependable and flexible in the eyes of superiors and colleagues.
- Check the details
Always ensure you check the details of a project before starting. Not doing your research on the time required or the nature of your cases could land you in trouble. Talk with a project manager about the task before you begin – find out any details you may have missed and assess how long it will take. This way, you can plan ahead.
- Know your limits
Once you have reached a suitable allocation of cases, pro bono and otherwise, don't go past your limits. Taking on more than you can do will leave you stressed and rundown, and the quality of your work may suffer. It may even mean you fail to complete the task. Honesty about what you are capable of is always best.
- Get organised
Use some form of reminder or list to keep track of what you need to do. With numerous cases on-the-go, you will need little reminders to do tasks, send messages or even just take a break. Also make use of different administrative colours or patterns for different clients, so you can easily identify different information quickly.
- Use dictation software
The NSW Young Lawyers Society identified dictation software as an essential way to manage your time as a lawyer – and Dragon Legal presents the perfect solution. Our dictation software is intuitive to the user, customisable to their workflow and adopts frequently used words and phrases into a living word bank, making each piece of equipment truly unique to your cases and clients. The word bank is supplemented with over 30,000 phrases used in Australian law, giving you unparalleled ability to save time in note-taking or administration.
Dragon Legal dictation software is integratable with a variety of devices, including phones, laptops and tablets, meaning that your audio or text files can be accessed from anywhere. This integration potential also means that you can interact with different case and client notes seamlessly, giving you an overview of your entire workflow while ensuring that you don't get information between your clients mixed up. Of course, your clients information is stored securely behind numerous security protocols, meaning your sensitive pro bono client data remains secure.
Integrate pro bono into your day-to-day with Dragon Legal
Integrating pro bono work into your schedule is an important part of being an Australian lawyer, both for the valuable access to legal representation your clients gain and for your own legal experience enrichment. Make sure that pro bono legal work doesn't hold you back by using our tips, and by using Dragon Legal to cut time-consuming note-taking from your day-to-day.