Posts Tagged ‘telephone log’

An Effective and Efficient Suggestion

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

I am a hugh fan of organizational techniques that serve mutliple purposes. As regular readers know, The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional focuses in large part on the ability to manage time, work, workspace, and calendar effectively and efficiently. Every now and then I run across someone with a manner of handling a task that I find well worth adding to the tool box. Here’s one that not only serves the organization function, but the function of creating a log in the event the paralegal is attacked by a vampire.

It is taken with permission from a post by Bob Sweat on the Paralegal Today listserv forum. Bob informs me he does a fair amount of writing for paralegal newsletters, CLE webinars & seminars and the like. Keep an eye out for his work.

I keep a 9.5 x 6 college ruled, spiral bound notebook by the phone with a pen always laying on it. I draw a line down the page about 1 in from the left margin (if there isn’t a preprinted one there). Each day I make an entry for the day to the left of the line and the date to the right of the line and underline it. For ex: M | 08/30/10.

When the receptionist says Mary Smith is on the line two – before I pick up the phone – on the first open line under the day and date I look at the time and while picking up the call I write 9:15 Mary Smith XYZ firm, then make notes of whatever the conversation entails. If I am to do something that I am not able to do at the time of the call, I put a box out to the left of the line and go back to what I was doing or on to the next call. When I get a chance to do the task, I then put a check mark in the box.

M | 08/30/10
9:15 Mary Smith, XYZ Firm, provide pricing for scanning, OCR and creating Dii for Summation for 5 boxes of documents and estimate the cost for converting a CD of PDFs to TIF. Needs by mid afternoon.

9:37 Jane Jones, ABC, Send brochures and pricing list for services. No Hurry.

10:03 Bob Wesson, BBB Lawfirm, send a copy of production CD to CCC Lawfirm, Rush.

In that way, I have the daily conversations one after another, never have to transfer anything from a post note or paper scrap and the check marks let me know if something is completed. If there is nothing to do after the call, I will make the box and check it off just so I know that nothing needs to be done. In that way, when things are really hectic and less urgent items get left undone, it is very easy to see each day what needs to be done or at the end of the day, what needs to be done tomorrow.

Paralegals and Vampires

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

I am not aware of any actual relationship between paralegals and vampires but I am told that in today’s market it is important to work in vampires on a fairly regular basis. Certainly there will be times when even the most paralegals will confront clients and attorneys that the paralegals will referred to as “blood-sucking so and so’s” or worse. The danger is in when and how this reference is made.

For example, if an attorney practices long enough it is almost inevitable that she will face ethical and malpractice complaints, many, if not all, of which will be unjustified. It is important that there be adequate and comprehensive records to document the client file. A client may allege that they called twenty times in two weeks with no response. A telephone call log showing he called three times, each of which received a response within twenty-four hours even if the responsive phone calls resulted only in repeated busy signals not only deflates that claim but cast doubt on any other complaint they make.

Written memos to the file are also important. Even though such memos, like emails, are informal, each such memo and email must be written with an eye towards the possibility that it could be read by a judge or jury in a malpractice case, by Bar Counsel or the next attorney to handle the case. Be especially careful what you say about your client. Convey the fact that your client is a confrontational, uncooperative, stubborn and drunk moron, but be careful and diplomatic about how you do it.