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Law Firm Management: How to Identify Self-Starters in Your Law Firm

Noel Peel

Written by

Noel Peel


September 18, 2018


Attracting high quality attorneys and support staff for your law firm is critical to success. But there are certain important qualities that simply can’t be identified until after someone is hired and has worked for your law firm for at least a few months. That said, one of the most valuable employees you should keep your eye on is the “self-starter.” Let’s take a look at how you can identify and keep self-starters engaged.

What Is a Self-Starter?

A self-starter is a self-motivated employee who is willing to take the initiative on important projects without being told to do so. A self-starter could be an attorney, a legal secretary, your IT support person, or any other person on your staff.

Signs That You Have a Self-Starter

There’s a huge difference between a self-starter and the average employee, self-starters tend to stand out. But you’ll still need to keep an eye out for some specific signs that you’re dealing with a self-starter. Let’s take a look at a few signs that someone is a self-starter.

  • They have a “can-do” attitude. One of the primary signs of a self-starter is that they expect to win, they expect to do well on a project, and they are solution oriented. If there is a challenging task ahead, your self-starter will acknowledge the challenge but come up with ways to overcome obstacles. Self-starters are more likely to say “yes” and they’re more likely to figure out “how” a difficult task can be done instead of offering excuses for why they can’t do it.
  • They’re not too worried about failure. While most self-starters have a “can-do” attitude, they also don’t get too worried about the possibility of failure. They understand that failures are simply temporary setbacks in most cases. And the smart self-starters always have a backup plan just in case Plan ‘A’ doesn’t work out. But beyond that, self-starters understand that failure and success are dependent on each other. You can’t get to success without experiencing at least a few failures first.
  • They solve your firm’s problems. Self-starters are always trying to align their work with your law firm’s mission and goals. They also work hard to find solutions to problems facing the law firm. You will know you have a self-starter when you notice them working diligently to address overall law firm issues not just the issues that directly impact their work.

How to Retain Self-Starters

If you want to keep self-starters engaged and retain them at your law firm, you will need to go the extra mile to provide the type of incentives self-starters value.

  • Challenging work. Self-starters want work that will challenge them and help them develop new skills.
  • Fair pay. Self-starters love their work and they like going the extra distance but they don’t love being underappreciated.  That’s why you must be prepared to offer raises and bonuses to your self-starters if you want to keep them.
  • More time off. If you can’t afford to give you self-starters more pay, consider giving them more vacation time. Paid time away from work is a good way for self-starters to recharge.

To maintain top quality talent at your law firm, identify and retain self-starters.

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