How Lawyers Can Disseminate Information Wisely

Back in ’09, in the midst of the recession which some say never really left us, Sheldon I. Banoff, a tax law specialist for over 35 years, struggled to stay on top of changing regulations. Banoff turned that tussle into a helpful, still-relevant piece he wrote for

It’s one thing to stay current with laws, news and happenings, he says, and another matter entirely to think you’re maintaining an organized flow of information if you’re feeling, well, overwhelmed. Banoff came up with a series of questions designed to determine whether one is in danger of information overload.

Here are a few ways to take your info-overflow temperature. (If you meet more than three criteria, chances are you’re running a fever.)

1. You’ve made up your mind that, as a successful attorney, you absolutely, positively must read every pertinent print or e-matter that crosses your desk or screen.

2. You’re TOO “linked-in”. You’ve made it a habit to log into several blogs in your arena; you’re chatting (these days, it’s texting) with lots of professionals and you’re on loads of e-mailing lists.

3. You spend so much time on the unimportant e-mails that you don’t have time to digest the important ones.

4. You stay on top of other law firm blogs because you feel a need to know what’s being said about your firm.

5. You’re a member of industry groups, bar associations, and receive many invitations to seminars and web-seminars for CPE credits.

6. You get every stripe of periodical imaginable…daily, weekly, monthly…you name it. But you never really read them because you are so backlogged that you can only scan the table of contents.

7. You’re on a phone call and, as a last resort, to catch up on the pile of messages and e-mails that threaten to inundate you, you find yourself going through them while you’re ostensibly giving your client or associate your undivided attention.

If you decide that that you are, indeed, in danger of drowning in all your backlogged reading material and “important” e-mails, here’s a life rope: you can simply control all this info-flow. And, yes, part of the solution entails going through it the moment it comes in, and vetting it then and there. Then it either stays, or goes.  No shuffling stuff around.

As a professional who, like you, dealt with a “plethora of…regulations, rulings, cases and legislation (and secondary sources)”, the author only found respite when he did the following–and he’s recommending that you do the same:

1. ID and streamline what you MUST read.

2. Develop a team approach to info dissemination. (Your colleagues can monitor some items for you.)

3. Stick to your ideal of how accessible you NEED to be.

4. Find out when you’re most efficient and do your material-screening then and there. (In other words, when are you NOT likely to put it off.) And

5. Make sure you get the dated info before it’s “dead in the water”. Finally, Jeff asks for your own revelations on this topic and promises not to treat your e-mail like so much info-overflow. To read more, or send in your own tips, go here:



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