How to Make Your Agile Legal Team a Success

How to Make Your Agile Legal Team a Success

If you’re an in-house lawyer or GC thinking about how to improve your team’s legal operations – here’s one for you.

Frances Dunn is Senior Legal Counsel at Netwealth Investments, and she’s been using the ‘agile methodology’ to manage her legal team's workload for the past 14 months.

And from what we’ve seen, she’s absolutely nailing it.

So we just couldn’t resist the urge to pick her brains and ask if she’d share what she’s learned with you.

We’re so glad she said yes.

Decompress, from Work

Here’s a great reminder from Progressive Legal Founder, Ian Aldridge on why we need to take regular breaks from work, come up for air and decompress.

In his words:

“In diving, they call it "off-gassing” - you take surface intervals between dives (and now and then a day or two off diving) to allow your body to process and expel the gas in your body and stress so that you can continue to dive. The same goes for business…"


Set Yourself Free with Workflows

Here’s a fantastic, in depth interview exploring the challenges, time frames and the ultimate pay-offs you can expect by implementing workflows in your legal team.

Spoken from the perspective of two boutique law firms who’ve taken their obsession with workflows and embarked on the long search for the holy grail, and found it:

“This is your path to freedom. This is how you get rid of all the stuff that you don’t want to do and that the client doesn’t want you to do.”


Getting into the Flow

“I don’t like this article – I love it.”

Says one appreciative reader, commenting on this great post setting out six steps to getting in the ‘flow’ state, penned by the good folks at Help Scout. Here’s how to get your flow on:

  1. Debunk myths about work
  2. Connect to a clear purpose
  3. Develop a ‘flow mindset’
  4. Limit external distractions
  5. Drop multitasking and batch tasks
  6. Practice mindfulness


4 Truths About Time Management

I’m a big fan of clear, concise writing and Chris Hargreaves nails it with his four truths for lawyers about time management. Here’s the deal:

  • Saying no lets you say yes
  • You can’t do everything and you shouldn’t try
  • Working to your strengths is the better strategy
  • Generous productivity works wonders

On truth #4, I’m lovin’ this little nugget:

“Remember – it’s “time management” not “my personal solitary time management”… If someone is waiting for you to make a 30 second decision and you put them off for 6 hours while you worry about your own priorities, is that a good use of time overall?”


Email, Chat or Face-to-Face?

Here’s a little research proving that a face-to-face request will profoundly increase the likelihood of getting the job done – in fact, it was 34 times more effective to eye-ball your requestee.

Most of us wouldn’t be too shocked to find that face-to-face outperforms text, so why do we still resort to the keyboard so often?

Well, according to assistant professor of Organisational Behaviour at the ILR School at Cornell University, Vanessa K. Bohns, it comes down to this:

“people tend to overestimate the power of their persuasiveness via text-based communication, and underestimate the power of their persuasiveness via face-to-face communication… the nonverbal cues requesters conveyed during a face-to-face interaction made all the difference in how people viewed the legitimacy of their requests.”


Relax to The Beat of 432Hz

We all know that music can influence our mood – if we're in the gym, pick some big thumping beats. Need to chill out? Hello, Jack Johnson.

But even Jack can't compete with the science of solfeggio frequencies, found in music that's composed at certain vibrational frequencies which help us on a subconscious level deal issues such as healing and releasing emotional patterns.

Binaural beats, on the other hand, bring you into alignment with certain brainwaves states - alpha, beta, delta, theta, gamma, etc.

Head of Legal ANZ at Cognizant and founder of Trinity Health & Living, Diana Nguyen explains:

"Theta brainwaves are the state you are in when you're in deep meditation. Alpha brainwaves are normally when you're in the state of deep sleep and the beta brainwaves are what we're typically accustomed to during our waking day, focused on cognitive tasks. What you want is more of the delta/alpha or theta brainwaves and not the beta!"

For me, right now, bring on the beta.


Sleep is So Hot Right Now

If you're dreaming of a better night's sleep or chasing the performance-enhancing benefits of some good shut-eye, here's a fantastic wrap of the latest apps, gizmos and gurus to help give you your daily dose of Zzzzs.

In the end though, I'm hearing director of Circadian Corporate Sleep Programs, Nancy H. Rothstein who concludes:

"All this writing, all these websites, all this stuff. I’m thinking, Just sleep. I want to say: ‘Shh. Make it dark, quiet and cool. Take a bath.’”


Planning is Guessing

We all love a good plan, but we worry when things things don't go to plan. So here's a hot tip from Basecamp CEO, Jason Fried: replace “plan” with “guess” and take it easy. Because all plans really just guesses.

Taking it further:

"So next time you’re working on a business plan, call it a business guess. And that financial plan? It’s a financial guess. Strategic planning? Call it with it really is: a strategic guess. 5 year plan? You mean 5 year guess."