Lawyers, Are You Empowering Your Assistant to be Effective?
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When technology is created in such a way that it naturally fits into your work processes, it can make significant, positive impacts on your productivity. Think about it: how many tasks, extra clicks, or time could you save if your digital workspaces were organized such that everything you need was right at your fingertips?
However, most out-of-the-box technologies are not setup for your exact work process or even the pieces of it that are important to you. And, setting up and maintaining your digital workspace to maximize productivity is both time-consuming and non-billable.
This is why creating the workspace of your dreams is the perfect task to delegate to your assistant. During my tenure as both a legal secretary and paralegal, I had an intimate understanding of my lawyer’s clients, active matters, and important projects. I also had the skills (and extra training that most lawyers don’t have time for) to organize and maintain this information in a way that would decrease time-consuming searches and increase client effectiveness for my lawyers.
What I didn’t have was an easy, seamless way of doing it.
How Customized Technology Workspaces Have Evolved
Back when I started assisting my lawyers in organizing their technology workspaces, the best I could do was set up:
- styles to provide structure to documents in Microsoft Word,
- favorite documents and matters in the document management system (DMS),
- folders, rules, and categories in Outlook, and
- common phrases as timekeeping shortcuts
I would usually have to wait until they were out of the office so I could get on their computer and set things up — ensuring that everything got copied over whenever they would get a new computer or profile. While this was a significant step forward in increasing the productivity of my lawyers, you can likely imagine how tedious it could be to maintain.
Lucky for assistants and paralegals everywhere, the cloud and continuous backups available today have made it so much easier.
How Modern-day Legal Professionals are Customizing Their DMS Workspace
Your DMS is at the heart of everything you do in a given day. Think of the dozens of documents, matters, and practice or group workspaces you are in and out of daily. Most legacy DMS systems only offer a list of recent documents and favorite matters, which does not get you far if you haven’t already worked in the document or folder. And no one has time for searching—you need it at your fingertips now.
Today, modern DMS platforms like NetDocuments not only offer matter-focused folder structures that match the way legal teams work but have also made good on their promises of customized, personal workspaces so everything you need is truly only a click away.
But who has time to set that up and keep it updated each time a matter is closed or document is done? Your assistant does.
The Benefits of Home Page Delegation
A personalized homepage has been a core benefit of NetDocuments for many years. Default areas for Favorite Workspaces and Favorite Items, which you can easily add to, have become a central feature for our customers. But this personalized homepage becomes really powerful when it is customized with multiple sections and items specific to your work.
And with the new Delegate Home Page Access function, it’s easier than ever for your assistant to organize and maintain it with your processes and work in mind.
All you have to do is add your assistant as your home page delegate with either View or View/Edit rights and they will have instant access to manage your Home Page structure, favorite documents, and important workspaces. These access rights give your assistant the ability to:
- Move items within a section or to a different section
- Select or clear favorited documents or workspaces
- Edit, delete, and add sections by selecting the Edit Layout option
Streamline Your Assistant’s and Paralegal’s Processes
Assistants, paralegals, and associates almost always support multiple partners, making your well-organized home page and delegate rights as much of a time-saver for them as it is for you.
For assistants this means they will be able to quickly switch between your Home Page and theirs, as well as the Home Pages of the other lawyers for whom they work. For associate attorneys and paralegals who work for multiple partners, being a home page delegate means that they can access an individual partner’s home page versus configuring their own to coverall of the content needed across multiple attorneys—ultimately helping them to keep items organized and stored in the correct locations. Through Home Page delegation, security is always maintained as well; the assistant will never see individual documents on the lawyer’s Home Page to which they don’t have access.
Find Out More
The demands on lawyers, their assistants, and paralegals are ramping up. With the right technologies firms can help their legal teams at every stage of the work process by streamlining organization, communication, and decreasing clicks.
If you’re tired of searching repeatedly for the documents you need and ready to operate in software that works for you and not against you, it’s time to give us a call at (866) 638-3627 or schedule a demo.