Managing Self Monday Morning Practice

Monday Morning Practice: Managing expectations

Written by Allison Wolf

Are you an over-promisor and under-deliverer? If so, you are not alone. Many lawyers I talk to struggle with this endless feeling of being behind in getting responses back to their clients.

Here is the question for you to consider – Are you really behind? What is actually a reasonable response time on client work?

The reality is that being a successful professional means we have a good-sized group of clients. We have a constant full plate of work. Work gets done, and more comes in to fill its place.

There is a steady line up of deliverables to take care of.

Clients pressure us to turn work around quickly. We pressure ourselves to accommodate this.

Legal work takes time. Even with the best systems and processes in place, and with top quality support, it takes time to deliver legal advice. There is a necessary delay between taking in a piece of work, entering it in the queue of legal work, and getting it done.

The practice this week is to begin paying attention to your thoughts about the time it takes to get work turned around. Are you holding yourself to turn-around times that are not reasonable in a busy practice? Notice, how are you communicating with clients about timelines?

What can you do to set reasonable expectations for yourself, and to communicate these to your clients?

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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