Helping New Small Firm Staff Succeed

//Helping New Small Firm Staff Succeed

The decision to hire additional staff at a small law firm is not one to be taken lightly. According to Eric Koester of MyHighTechStart-Up, the cost of searching for, hiring and training a new employee ranges from 1.5 – 3 times the employee’s salary. For small firms with limited resources, this means finding the right candidate and helping them succeed is of the utmost importance.

So, how can you ensure your new employees are poised for success? We have a few ideas:

Invest in their training

Whether your new hire is fresh out of law school or a veteran litigator, taking the time to train them is key. The transition from their old gig to the new one may not seem like a big leap, but every office has it’s own way of doing things. Prioritize training employees on your firm’s processes and software, debriefing them on clients and assigning someone they can reach out to for help and mentorship. Walking them through the operational aspects of your work will provide clarity on what is expected and make make your new hire feel more comfortable in their role. The sooner they settle in and get the hang of your processes, the sooner they can get started on the legal work they were hired to complete!

Offer mentorship opportunities

Is your new employee just beginning their career in the legal industry? If this is their first job at a law office, then you know they have a lot to learn. Luckily, your legal dream team has plenty of wisdom to share.Offer to arrange a mentorship between the new employee and one of the more experienced attorneys on staff. Providing ongoing mentorship for new employees is an excellent way to seamlessly incorporate them into the company, provide insight on industry-related issues and further develop their skills. Mentors can also help assess strengths and weaknesses and  offer guidance on long- and short-term career planning.

Provide structured feedback

Small businesses typically have employees who wear many hats. For example, you may be the managing attorney at your small law firm, but you’re also in charge of hiring and human resources. With just a few people taking charge of many different roles, it’s easy to let things like performance reviews slip through the cracks. In order to ensure new employees have a solid understanding of their job performance, make structured feedback a priority. These review sessions are an opportunity for you to discuss with new employees the progress they’re making, and also for you to get feedback on your managerial skills.

With each new hire, your small law firm is slowly but surely building its ideal legal dream team. Develop processes to foster their growth and ensure they have a successful career at your small law firm.

By |June 30th, 2015|

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. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. 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.