Onboarding New Staff at Your Small Law Firm

//Onboarding New Staff at Your Small Law Firm

Bringing on new staff can be difficult, especially for small law firms that don’t have an established onboarding process in place. Onboarding plans are important because they’re designed to help new employees familiarize themselves with the goals and processes of their new company so that they can quickly and efficiently become successful, productive workers.

If your small law firm doesn’t have an onboarding plan, here are three things you can do to make that process easier for new staff members:

1. Start the orientation process before their start date. Prospective employees should be able to access information about the firm’s workplace culture from your website’s Careers page. Additionally, throughout the interviewing and recruitment stages, you should discuss with potential hires what it’s like to work for your firm and how it functions. Starting this process early will help both you and prospective employees decide if you’re a good fit for each other.

2. Plan ahead. The first day at a new job often involves mountains of paperwork. Instead of sticking a new hire in a room with tax forms, get a head start on the paperwork by sending it along with their offer letter. This will eliminate an hour or so of clerical work and help your new hire focus on the important details — like getting familiar with their new job and colleagues!

3. Provide details. It’s easy to gloss over small details during the onboarding process, especially when you’re focused on the bigger picture. But for your hires to really get comfortable in their new environment as quickly as possible, it’s important that you go over the details that might cut into their productivity. Before their first day, do the following:

  • Alert your office to the new hire’s start date
  • If your office has a security desk, let them know who to speak with before arriving
  • Set up their computer and workspace
  • Have guides ready for installing and running any necessary software
  • Let them know where to park, where to find the bathrooms/copiers/cafeteria


Want to learn how to make your new hire’s job even easier? Take a virtual tour to see how Smokeball can help your employees work smarter HERE!


By |December 4th, 2014|

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.