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Pace of change: three to six weeks per habit

Many encrustations on efficiency are simply bad habits, those the corporate lawyer slipped into for some reason and never scraped away. Three-hole punching all documents so that they can go in a binder; putting all in-box material back in the box before “making a decision.” Highlighting in yellow marker the key language of all letters received. Drafting the first version of contracts on a yellow pad. Starting each day with your e-mail inbox. And endless other barnacles of effectiveness.

Marcia Pennington Shannon writes in Law Practice, Vol. 32, July/Aug. 2006 at 58 that “Experts say that you should plan on at least three to six weeks to incorporate new habits into your routine.” I suppose that pace depends greatly on how frequently during the time period you have an opportunity to alter the rut of experience. Later, she urges people to “choose two at a time, starting with the ones that will make the most difference.” Everyone in a law department can improve if the chains of a few bad habits are broken.

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