Delegating 101: Why It's Important and Whom to Delegate To

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on September 23, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When Charles-Guillaume Étienne wrote (in French) "If you want something done right, do it yourself," he was not talking about delegating legal work. While most of us could probably admit to stating this phrase at least once (no law school study group horror stories? no failed group science experiments?), we know it doesn't make sense in the business world.

Delegating is important, and should be an integral part of your work strategy. In Delegating 101, we'll tell you why you need to delegate work, and how to delegate effectively.

The Case for Delegating

Delegating is important for three simple reasons:

It saves you time: Rather than getting bogged down in the nitty gritty details, if you delegate assignments that you personally don't need to do, you can spend your time on the important (money making) stuff.

It saves the client money: By delegating, you're having someone with a lower hourly rate complete the work, saving the client money.

It's what successful people do: It's impossible to do everything well. Any successful management strategy has a plan for delegating assignments. Who knows, you may end up as the "delegating partner."

Whom to Delegate To

Legal consulting group Altman Weil, Inc., answers this question succinctly: "Have the work performed at the "lowest" (i.e., least expensive) level that is competent to meet the client's needs." Here, the hardest part will be determining what assignments should get delegated to admins, paralegals and junior associates.

The first question is whether the work requires a legal degree or special training? If the work is regarding scheduling or other tedious administrative tasks like copying or filing, assign that work to your admin. Need documents prepped for a trial, or data organized for discovery? Look to your paralegal to get this going. Need legal research or some drafting done? Delegate to a junior associate.

Hopefully, we've sold you on the benefits of delegating and shed some light on whom to delegate work to. Next week, tune in to learn what work to delegate and how to delegate effectively.

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