View Full Version : Does it work for lawyers
07-06-2004, 07:48 AM
I have become more and more intrigued by the system and am thinking baout using it. My problem: I am a lawyer, which means a large number of projects are time-critical, and the due dates are not set by me, but rather externaly, through clients, courts etc.
Does anyone have experience with using GTD as a lawyer or in comparable circumstances?
07-06-2004, 08:25 AM
PamG, a regular participant in this forum, is a lawyer. She has posted a fair bit of info. on her web-site around using GTD with Note Studio. http://www.law4pda.org/chocolateGTD/
07-06-2004, 09:13 AM
(both corp and sole proprietors)
What system looks like is unique to the individual, as this is area of personal preference. (Simple paper planner, file folders with lists, palm, outlook, etc)
What is the same are basics:
Get it out of your head.
Identify projects and next actions.
Review it to keep it current and complete.
I encourage you to start with what you currently use, no need for any fancy complex tool. Use your analytical, critical thinking skills for the law work; make the reminder system to support that thinking simple and easy. (Hint: you will never know your answer till you start some movement and course correct based on feedback and experience.)
07-06-2004, 09:41 AM
I'm a litigation lawyer and am practicing GTD for about 4 months now.
GTD has introduced clarity and organization into my work.
As for due dates - I list them both in my calendar and my outliner list of next actions & projects.
The subject "GTD & Lawyers" was discussed several times at this forum, so you might want to check what others have said.
07-06-2004, 02:58 PM
Here are two more good threads:
07-07-2004, 06:16 AM
There are a number of lawyers on this list serv and others that use GTD. My practice is transactional and does not involve litigation. The weekly review and the next action for every open file is a terrific discipline and very similiar to what one normally does in a law office with the weekly review. The identification of the very next action keeps the file flowing as opposed to the "yeah I have to work on that" response. The waiting for catagory is a terrific way to keep track of all those call backs and responses that you are waiting for.
GTD is also a sure way to beat "I am keeping the file on my desk as a reminder I need to work on it" syndrome.
07-07-2004, 01:42 PM
Thanks for the input - using the search function would have been a good idea. :wink:
I have the impression that one major issue is the fact that many lawyers - at least I do - have systems for their work that are in place and work somewhat well. I am not very interested in keeping dual systems - which in the end means I have to use my current system for all aspects. Just as a bit of info: our software is a legal software, that addresses all aspects of the law practice, from creating a file to billing, always organized along files. Within those files, I work - dictate, bill, meet, set tickler dates etc. The problem is one of self discipline - make the tickler note meaningful, e.g., and those things that are not file based - a speech I am preparing to give, or a book. I guess these need to be files too - IŽll use my existing system, which allows me to do all things GTD - delegate, diarize, etc.
07-08-2004, 06:26 AM
I am a trial attorney specializing in mass tort cases, where we may have upwards of 500 clients at a time.
Although my firm has its own various tracking systems and databases, I prefer to use GTD myself on my own Sony Clie with the Palm Desktop app. loaded onto my work computer.
While this is somewhat duplicate effort, I want to make sure I'm on top of everything and don't want to rely on the up-to-dateness of the firm system.
The litigation "tweak" that I've given GTD arises from my belief that each case is something larger than a "project" at 10K feet, but more discreet than an "area of focus/responsibility" at 20K. Therefore, I've created a 15K list called "caselist" where I list all of my active cases. Each week during the weekly review I look at that list (and the attached note for each case lists the upcoming discovery deadlines, etc.) so I know the status of each.
07-08-2004, 08:05 AM
To the extent that GTD duplicates your firm or office's existing system, that duplication isn't necessarily bad. I was doing a lot of that duplication before, because I want a separate set of reminders about what I am responsible for, rather than what the entire firm or the team on any single case is responsible for. As examples, my firm uses docketing software, which generates calendars of litigation and other deadlines. I've always (even in my pre-GTD days) taken deadlines that affect me or that I am responsible for and put them on my calendar. And even in my pre-GTD days, whenever I felt like I didn't have a mental handle on everything that I was responsible for, I'd take a few minutes and write out a list of them: motion on x case re x; discovery on y case to y; respond to z's letter; etc. It's just that now I feel like I have a deliberate system in place to capture and track all of these things on a constant basis, not just when things get hectic.
Perhaps the single greatest benefit I enjoy from GTD is knowing now what I'm responsible for and what I want to accomplish, and knowing that I have a single point of reference where all of that information is. Nothing is lost, at least in theory, if I'm vigilant about it. I no longer wake up at 2 am because I just remembered that told someone 2 weeks ago I'd have something for them tomorrow, and that is priceless.
This system isn't mutually exclusive to whatever calendar, conflicts-check, case-management or contacts system you have. In fact, you might be able to adapt those existing systems to a GTD-focused practice. The mindset is just as important as the method used to make it happen.