Category : Law Firm Management
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” I can think of many situations that old adage applies to, including the process of successfully building and maintaining a staff for a small law firm.
As a lawyer, you understand the process of research and negotiation to arrive at a favorable outcome for your clients. As a business owner, you need to apply the same techniques to develop team of lawyers and support staff to keep your office running smoothly.
Hire Lawyers with Hearts
When hiring for junior associate positions, you may assume GPAs and alma maters matter most, but that thinking is out of date across many industries. What’s become just as important are “soft skills,” or emotional intelligence capabilities, which are not taught – at least, certainly not in the school I attended. For a fellow lawyer, qualities like resilience, leadership, and empathy ensure a level of dedication to the firm and its clients.
Attorneys, like the rest of the human race, have all different kinds of personalities. Some possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and others feel most fulfilled working as part of a group. Since the hiring process for small businesses is expensive, make sure the lawyers you interview are the right “fit” for your business culture and will contribute to the overall atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual support.
Just as a football team comprised solely of quarterbacks will not win the Super Bowl, a team of lawyers with identical traits will not win the most clients. Understanding the unique attributes of your firm’s associates and hiring someone new, who brings something different to the table, allows you to serve the most diversified clientele.
Hire Staff with Smarts
You might not want to believe this, but there IS such a thing as “too many lawyers.” If your small firm doesn’t have a strong support staff keeping up with research and office management responsibilities, you can’t provide quality services to your clients.
Hiring paralegals, assistants, and office managers of the highest caliber requires looking beyond resumes. Folks who are adaptable, communicate effectively, and are genuinely interested in the law make the best employees. Remember, you are investing more than just a salary in a new hire. You are spending time, providing training, and allowing access to your firm’s confidential documents – make sure the fit is right.
Today’s small business must adapt and change to industry trends; it is critical to any company’s success. Today’s small law firm relies more heavily on emerging technologies designed to expedite tasks and cut costs. Your support staff needs to develop and sustain these capabilities. They should feel comfortable using legal form software and customer relationship management tools. Hiring staff who are capable, willing, and eager to keep up with new technologies is as important as implementing them in the first place.
Hire Teams Who Start
When choosing both lawyers and staff, you want a team that leans forward. You don’t want a group who just waits around until they’re told what to do. Find people who take initiative, work collaboratively, and think innovatively. This is the team who will propel your firm to the next level.
Above all, create a cohesive workplace of associates and staff who are committed to your company ethics, vision, and culture. This takes a bit of work, but, the pay-off is worth it: a team of trustworthy, adaptable, and client-focused professionals who deliver expertise, confidence, and success.
Implementing document assembly software and training staff to use it is one way law firms can support client needs. At JurisDOC, we pride ourselves on hiring employees that provide an outstanding level of customer service to our lawyer customers. Visit our website to learn more about a free trial of our legal document assembly software and see how quickly you can save money – and time.