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dictating - Erica YitzhackMany lawyers who are in their first few years at a law firm rely heavily on their typing skills, when in reality they should be focusing on dictating.  Dictating involves not only typing, but finding an address, checking style guides to make sure you are using heading correctly, saving letters, printing letters, and overall double-checking that you are being as thorough as possible.  Most young lawyers want to impress their boss by typing things and being finished with them as quickly as they can, but in the long run the skills you really need to become a good lawyer are not being utilized. Here are a few reasons from Tipsforlawyers.com that explain why dictating is a much more important skill to master than being a good typist when you’re just starting out as a lawyer:

For starters, dictating is ultimately faster than typing.  According to Tipsforlawyers.com, “When it comes to the amount of your time required to produce the product, dictation is always faster,” (Stop Typing and Start Dictating).  This is because the typing process only covers half of the duties you need to complete as a lawyer.  If you rush through typing everything up, you’ll be left with a plethora of other work that you should have been working on throughout the entire typing process.  When you have a long document, it is crucial to not make mistakes or you’ll be wasting much more of your time than you had anticipated. So be thorough and start forming habits that cater to dictating instead of just typing.

Next, dictation brings more clarity than typing. Tipsforlawyers.com states that, “To be effective at dictation you must develop clarity of thought before producing any complex document.  This means that you begin to structure your thinking so that your document can be done in a cohesive way,” (Stop Typing and Start Dictating).  But, like most things in life, to be skilled at something requires time and experience – dictation is no exception.  So be patient and start slow, develop your thinking now so that in the years to come you will be an expert at dictating.

Lastly, Tipsforlawyers.com mentions that, “Dictation is a form of leverage, and leverage is a critical part of how law firms make money,” (Stop Typing and Start Dictating).  Yes, dictating makes more money than typing, and this is because you save time when you dictate (as mentioned before).  With the time you save, you have time to do other tasks like developing relationships with your clients, networking, and researching, which will all mold you into a more experienced and intelligent lawyer.

To read more advice about how dictating is more effective than typing, check out Tipsforlawyers.com’s article here.

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