Office Hours and Time Keeping
Some clinics mandate that students maintain office hours. These are pre-designated times when the student will be in the clinic workspace every week. The benefit of office hours is that it allows clients to contact students at a time when they know they will be at the clinic and allows a supervisor to track them down at non-supervisory times if needed. Office hours can also provide some discipline and regularity to students’ work schedules in terms of pacing themselves with regard to the work that they have to perform over the course of a term. On the other hand, with the advent of laptops, virtual private networks, and remote access, the traditional view of “office” is quickly becoming out of place. In this respect, office hours may not add much value to the already motivated and disciplined student counselor. (See Timekeeping and Scheduling for more information).
Supervisors may want to keep track of the time students spend on clinical work. Depending on overall clinic structure, a school may already have some sort of time management software that allows for this. In litigation projects, time keeping serves a different function in that it is a metric for IOLTA funding or, if successful in certain representations, the clinic may petition for attorneys’ fees. In transactional matters, rarely are either of those considerations relevant. However, some clinics may track time as a barometer of relative workload or to get students used to keeping track of their time as they will in private practice. Even without a timekeeping program, setting up a simple spreadsheet makes this process very easy. (See Timekeeping and Scheduling for more information).