There are many alluring benefits of being self-employed — you set your own schedule, you make your own decisions, and you can spend as much or as little time at the office as you want. Perhaps you had to move back home to take care of your parents and the labor market was tough and you had to make moves. Perhaps you needed a break from the grind of working at a top firm. There are other reasons why you decided to close up shop and transition to the workforce and become a law firm employee.
A manager plans, leads, organizes and controls. A manager is someone who knows how to coach a team, correct them, motivate them to get things done and keeps them fighting the good fight forward. It would be silly to assume that effectively managing a team of lawyers would be easy. It is harder.
Attorneys keep a lot of secrets. Confidentiality is part of the job. Attorneys also have to know how to not slip confidential matters during social conversations. So when hiring attorneys, law firms want to onboard individuals who know how to handle sensitive and confidential information.
The legal profession has one of the highest rates of depression with an estimated 28 percent of lawyers suffering. Add to that the season and generally cooler weather (in some areas, frigid) and down feelings can prove to be too much. For many, the strategies noted below for attorneys can seem easier said than done, but here are some things to do to combat depression symptoms.
Every business has milestones. Starting any type of business comes with its ups and downs. Launching a new law firm comes with many of the same pitfalls and risks as launching any other business. The reality is that most businesses, including law firms, do not survive the first five years.
Understanding the processes by which tasks are accomplished gives you the insight and understanding you need to increase your productivity. But you have to pay attention and you cannot become complacent. A process document works best when it is treated as a live document and it is reviewed and updated regularly. Here are a few tips on how to create a process document for your projects.
Managers are people too and sometimes they feel stuck when making hiring decisions. There is a lot of excellent and high-quality talent available for law firms, but all the choices can make it very difficult to make a final hiring decision. This person (or people) will cost the firm in time and money in recruiting fees, bonuses, onboarding, salary, etc. - if the firm is more boutique, these are large expenditures the firm simply cannot take lightly. While there are many tough decisions to make, there are a few strategies for making difficult hiring decisions easier.
If you're a solo attorney you may just need an assistant to answer calls, take messages and be a friendly voice when prospects and clients call. Do you need someone in the office all day for that? No. A virtual assistant can be just what the attorney ordered.
Small law firms can take advantage of and even save money not having onsite staff; the use of a virtual assistant can free up more time to spend with clients while also lowering costs. But there are some mistakes you should avoid when hiring and working with virtual assistants.
When it comes to hiring more employees, it can be a real catch-22 for your organization. Hire too slowly, you may find yourself turning down work due to lack of capacity. Hire too quickly, you can be forced to let employees go if you’re unable to earn enough to support their salary. Fortunately, there a few key performance indicators that you need to hire more employees.
Successful law firms have a narrative. The stories talk about the founding partners; when they got together, how, why, and their mission. The strategic narrative never sounds institutional, it is one that feels like the story of people getting together for the good fight. The narrative connects to both prospective clients and candidates.