HIRING ONCE UPON A TIME: I Hired TWO New Associates Instead of One!

By Kristen David, How To MANAGE a Small Law Firm – Law Firm Management and Marketing Advisor

New Members:  This Article is expressly for you

When life changes and your firm is sailing forward, it can be a challenge to remember the pain of what life was like before. That’s why I am writing this with new members in mind. Wait for these two objectives as you read.

1. You will have a first-hand look at the “no judgment zone”. You will see that we all face the same difficulties and self-doubts. And then, you will experience a taste of what comes next after you put the work in.

2. This is a chance for you to connect directly to the experience–building a “successful firm” is dependent on equally building and maintaining the foundational systems relating to administration, financials, marketing, and providing legal services.

MY STORY: One day, my associate flew from Oregon to the East Coast to visit family and decided not to fly home. She dropped off the grid without a word–after a missed a deposition and one court appearance–we terminated her. In the midst of assessing her caseload, my law partner experienced a medical issue that placed him in ICU for two weeks. In less than a week, I went from three attorneys to one. I clearly needed help, and I needed to get it fast.

Prior to this Perfect Storm, we had already discussed hiring a second associate. That’s just about the time my thoughts turned to considering hiring NOT JUST ONE BUT TWO ASSOCIATES.

Whoa! Did your head just explode? I’ll admit it, for days I swung from scared shitless to confident that this could work.There were three things that helped me get through the bullshit:

1) I looked at my Financials very closely. I ran various calculations and ultimately my numbers revealed that things would be fine. Does it mesh with the plan?

2) I sat down and looked at my personal goals, my professional goals and my financial goals (for both firm and myself). I reread my Mission Statement (Chief Aim and Purpose) and my 5 and 10 year plans. All and all, hiring TWO associates was the thing to do to keep me on my path.

3) I scheduled a call with my COO and talked through my concerns, my fears (that frankly were just in my head and were not based in reality) and came up with a plan. (My advice to everyone is that when you feel stuck, scared, or need help, schedule a call with your COO!!)

After talking to both of my top candidates again, I offered them each a position. I am happy to report they both accepted!

The building phase is not without moments of fear, but I can tell you that this program and the foundational pieces it teaches, gave me the confidence to move forward in my firm.