Like many small businesses, your law firm’s #1 asset will always be your employees. That means hiring the right people will be one of the most important steps you take when it’s time to grow your small law firm. Remember, company culture is much more apparent when working in a small office. One ill-fitting hire can have a profound effect on the day-to-day operations of your firm.

Building your legal dream team may seem like a daunting task, especially when you consider the costs associated with hiring and onboarding new employees. So before you hire a recruiter or invest time in posting to job sites, here are a few things to think about when building your roster of talented legal professionals.

Define your needs before you start looking

Does your small law firm need a seasoned professional or a clerk fresh out of law school? Knowing exactly what kind of experience is required of the position you need to fill will help you narrow down the field of candidates, as well as direct you towards the best place to begin your search. More experienced candidates might be found at local networking events or through the local Bar Association. Recent graduates might be relying more on online job boards, university websites or formal recruiting events.

Highlight company culture

Take a good look at your small law firm and assess the personalities and attitudes of the team members you already have. Does everyone collectively value the “work hard, play hard” mentality, or does your team usually get straight down to business? When looking to add a star player to your legal team, it’s important that your new hire’s values and attitudes match that of your existing team members. Certain skills can be taught over time, but if there’s a disconnect between your office’s work style and the new employee, you may be headed for trouble.

Be prepared to onboard

Building your dream team doesn’t end after an official offer letter is signed. Once you’ve added another legal professional to your team, it’s important that you have an onboarding process in place to help new hires get acquainted with your firm’s way of doing things. Think back to your first day at a new job; it’s never easy being the “new kid.” Firms that set procedures to help educate new employees will likely have better retention rates and a smoother transition process.

Building your legal dream team will take time, patience, and hard work. But when your team is in place, you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort to recruit the right people.