Use Client Meetings to Increase Productivity

client-meeting-productivityMeetings are getting a bad rap these days, but I find them very useful to help me complete a project, especially when it has no clear deadline. Those kinds of tasks can end up sitting on your work plan for weeks, since they are always lower priority than the things due right now. But you can use meetings to get things get done sooner, rather than later.

Schedule a meeting with your client to finalize each important document or project. If it has a due date—discovery responses or an affidavit in support of a motion, for example—schedule the meeting a couple of days before the due date. If not, set the date a few weeks out, so that you will have plenty of time to prepare a draft.

Prepare a draft for the meeting, and modify it based on information and input from your client. Whether you are drafting a complaint or a contract, this will make the client feel involved, give you a due date when you know the document will be finished, and help you get things done.

Plus, if you draft documents with your client, instead of just sending them to the client to sign, you maximize your chances of avoiding those embarrassing moments during a deposition when your client says he or she does not recognize a key document—the complaint, for example.

(photo: dissolve)


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  • I try to talk with the client before drafting any documents. Client input is very important in fact-specific cases. It’s likely that clients will know the facts initially better than you do, so why not involve them as soon in the process as possible? Of course, you have to verify all of your client’s contentions, but talking to your clients early will let you know what your clients want from your representation.

  • Greg Broiles

    My best trick for improving my productivity, minimizing procrastination, and keeping clients at least moderately happy is to meet with clients regularly (every 2 to 3 weeks), schedule the next meeting in advance, and agree on deliverables for the next meeting. (Almost always, the deliverables are “I’ll have a draft of ready we can discuss next time, and sign it if you’re happy with it.”)

    When I’ve got a “do this pretty soon” project, it never gets done. When I’ve got a meeting to discuss a document on a certain date, I feel like a jerk if I don’t have the document ready or reschedule because I’m not ready, so I typically make myself find time to get the document ready. Once in awhile I find I can’t meet the deadline, and need to reschedule, but that means I’m extra conscious of the deadline and extra worried about completing the task, rather than having the forgotten/neglected task fall off my radar entirely.

    When I keep on top of this, my clients & I get projects finished, I get paid, and everyone’s happy. When I get lazy or sloppy and don’t schedule that next meeting in advance, someone’s gotta remember to call someone else to either check status or schedule another meeting, which almost always means waiting until someone’s impatient or unhappy, which doesn’t make for a good working relationship.

    Figuring out that this is what it takes to keep myself productive has made a tremendous difference in my productivity and client relationships.