You can’t build a million-dollar law firm by yourself. You need your team to get you where you want to go. From your secretary to your paralegal to your associates, at the end of the day your law firm is only as good as the people that work in it. That can be a scary thought, right?
The good news is that you have the opportunity – and the responsibility – to find the right people to fill each job in your firm, and to engineer each job in your firm for maximum profitability. Hiring, training, developing, and equipping your people are among the most important tasks you’ll ever deal with as the leader of a small law firm. Yet many solo lawyers don’t give these tasks the attention they deserve – usually because they are “too busy” and think they just need to put a warm body in a chair and then hope they figure out what they’re doing each day.
A much better (more profitable) approach is to view your people as assets to invest in. When you make smart investments of time, money, and resources, you’re laying the foundation for the success of your firm. Here are three of these investments that you, as the leader of your firm, need to make into your people.
1) Invest in hiring the right people. It’s tempting to hire quickly in order to fill a need. But hiring the wrong person will leave you back in the same situation, likely in just a few short months. Take the time to conduct an extensive search and truly identify top talent for each position you need to fill. Rushing this process is penny wise, pound foolish. Take as much time as you need to find the right person for the job.
2) Invest in training your people. Once you’ve hired the right person for the job, invest the time and resources to thoroughly train the new employee. Teach them the key policies and procedures that are relevant to their job. Introduce them to your firm culture and make sure they understand exactly what you do and who you help. (Even if they aren’t in a “sales” position.)
3) Invest in tools for your people. Put your people in position to succeed. Whether it’s computers, software programs, periodical subscriptions, comfortable office furniture… give your team the tools they need to be successful. If a top-of-the-line office chair for your secretary is going to cost you $500 but is going to make him or her 10% more productive and significantly more excited to come to work each morning… it’s not going to take long for that investment to become profitable.
Your people will make or break your law firm. Make smart investments into their development and position your firm for success.