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

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How-to-Identify-Self-Starters-in-Your-Law-FirmAttracting 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.

By | September 26th, 2017|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.

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