When a lawyer thinks about his or her law firm’s most valuable asset, the answer should always be the staff. These are the people that run the office day-to-day, that interact with clients the most, and that are responsible for putting forth the best representation of your law firm possible. That’s why it’s so important to avoid the typical pitfalls of any business with employees, such as high turnover and the constant cycle of training that accompanies it, employee burnout, and low morale.
All of those issues could have a huge detrimental effect on your law firm and your bottom line. Think about it:
- Your receptionist is a potential client’s first point of contact with your firm. If he or she doesn’t present the firm in a positive light, chances are you’ve just lost out on a new client.
- Your paralegals and assistants are responsible for the day-to-day work of keeping your clients happy and working behind the scenes to make sure the clients are taken care of, for example by communicating with banks to ensure trusts are properly funded or by working with the courts to make sure filings are in the proper order. These staff members need to be engaged and happy, as burnout can take its toll on them.
- The entire staff represents your firm, from the receptionist in the front to the bookkeeper in the back. Morale needs to be high and staff members need to be happy, otherwise it will reflect poorly on your law firm.
There are many ways to keep your staff happy, engaged, and working at their peak capacity, including competitive wages and benefits, special perks, and an atmosphere that’s conducive for teamwork. But it all boils down to one main key factor: respect. A staff that feels respected is a staff that will do the best work possible. If staff members feel that attorneys, whether they’re senior partners or junior associates, don’t have an adequate level of respect for them, it won’t be long until the quality of work begins to slide and the flow of clients starts drying up.
That’s not to say that all staff problems exist solely because of attorneys and a lack of respect. Sometimes, a staff member just may not be a good fit for a particular law firm. But it’s important to examine any possible reason why there’s a problem with the staff and, if possible, address it accordingly.
Are you experiencing any issues with your staff? Have you noticed a change in attitude of any of your employees? Or are you interested in learning some of the ways to keep your staff engaged at work and presenting your law firm in the most positive light possible? Then please feel free to email me here or schedule a call so we can discuss some ways to utilize your most valuable asset!