Managing an office is a role that many new attorneys didn’t fully expect. The full number of employees and contractors that your firm can work with is often surprising, especially as it grows steadily. Having the right team to help you climb the ladder is essential– you can’t do it all by yourself and will be relying on your team. Make sure that they’re worth the time, money, and effort.
When running an office there are often common pitfalls lead attorneys face. Experience and some elbow grease can solve many of them. Take these cases for example:
Issues, New and Old
Some firms have issues retaining highly qualified legal assistants and secretaries. Sometimes this is caused by personal issues while in others it is caused by the work environment. As the boss, you set the tone and the expectations. If you fail to lead, even unintentionally, you can create problems months in the making. It is up to you to immediately deal with tardiness and absence. Don’t be too fast and loose with allowing slack– ultimately it costs you time and money in the end.
In some cases firms are able to largely sidestep the “sick secretary” issue by sharing personnel. In some cases two brick and mortar offices will share the same legal assistants or typists. In other cases, firms will employ a “virtual” secretary by using an outsourced calling center specially used for their practice. This can save time and money and virtually eliminate the chance of excessive absences.
Some of these issues come down to the hiring process. Often firms face potential employees that choose not to stay because they do not feel properly compensated or that their job responsibilities are different than when they were originally fired. Make sure to inform each prospective employee of exactly what you expect from them– make sure that the good example starts with you– and starts early.
When you are the boss the buck stops with you. Making sure that you are well prepared for anything that can come your way is just another part of the job. When treated and trained well, your employees can and will be second to none. It is up to you to get them there.
Michael Ehline is the lead attorney for the Ehline Law Firm PC in the greater Los Angeles area. He engages in employment harassment and gender discrimination claims and other injury cases. He hopes that his experience running his own firm and winning for clients can be utilized by new and old attorneys alike.