Ask Attorney Jennifer B.: How to Take the Stress Out of Legal Staffing
After all of your marketing efforts have materialized and business is thriving, there comes a time when you may consider hiring a staff member to assist you. This is not an easy decision and is often accompanied by some trepidation. Learning to delegate can be difficult at first. But the key to growing and expanding your practice might be additional staff. Hiring staff allows you to manage your workload more efficiently and frees you up to focus on the tasks that most require your attention.
Making the decision to obtain help in your practice is only step one in the process. Deciding what kind of help you need and how to best obtain that help can be challenging. It is all worthwhile once you get the right help. Here are some tips to get you through:
Determine Your Needs
While you realize you need assistance, you may not know immediately what kind of help is best. Take a few days to assess what tasks you need to get off your plate and which you could reasonably delegate to someone else. If you need someone to do clerical work and answer phones, for example, perhaps a legal assistant would fit the bill. Or maybe you have tasks that could be accomplished by a paralegal. If you need someone to handle cases, go to court and do legal research, perhaps an associate would be best. Most important is to clearly define your needs before you start your search so that you can focus your efforts and advise potential candidates of your expectations.
Put the Word Out
Advertising for an employee is only one aspect of hiring and may not be the most efficient way of finding the right person. It is also important to put the word out about your hiring needs to your colleagues. A recommendation from someone you trust makes the hiring process that much easier. If more people know that you are hiring you increase the landscape of your search and thus, the likelihood of finding someone more quickly.
Take Your Time
Even if you are in a crisis situation and need help fast, making a hasty hiring decision is never a wise move. You want to assure that the person you hire is the right person for the job. When you hire someone, you are making a serious commitment that is not easily reversed. ou owe it both to yourself and the potential hire that you know, as much as possible, that they will fulfill your needs. Ask for references and actually check them. Ask the hard questions that will help you assess if the person really has the qualifications you seek. Hiring can be a tedious and laborious process but it is worth it in the end. If you have other employees that will interact with this person, you may want to consider bringing them in on the process to assure that the new hire will fit in and work well with others.
Temper Your Expectations
Once you find the right person for the job there is definitely cause for celebration. However, for your new hire to succeed you need to clearly define their role and explain in detail how you expect the work to be done. You are setting the person up for failure if you do not invest the necessary time in training the person and helping them to understand your expectations.
Hiring a staff member takes a lot of effort. It is also a big responsibility. But the benefits will surely outweigh the struggle. Getting the right person to assist you can make life easier and will provide a way to help your practice grow and succeed.