The Small Law Firm Owner’s Guide to Delegating to Your First Staff Member
As a solo lawyer, you’re used to handling everything on your own. After all, who else is going to run your law practice if you’re not at the helm? Many solo attorneys find themselves feeling overwhelmed and unable to continue meeting their own business standards. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that you simply can’t grow if you don’t outsource. Thankfully, delegating to your first staff member doesn’t have to be as challenging as you might have thought. Get your solo practice back on track. Become a small law firm owner and get the help you need in the form of your first employee.
Organize and Outsource
When you’re ready to hire your first staff member, you first need to get yourself organized. Your staff can only be as organized as you are. Don’t just throw the kitchen sink at your virtual assistant or new admin. Decide what responsibilities and tasks you want to outsource first. These should be top priority areas you want your first staff member to focus on. Remember that you can always grow responsibilities if and when it makes sense. Don’t set yourself up to failure by overloading your new hire.
If you’re planning on outsourcing your marketing to a person or team, make sure that you update them on your current marketing efforts, if any. They need to know what’s been working for you so far and what hasn’t, so they can accurately develop your new marketing strategy going forward.
Create an Onboarding and Training Schedule
You’ll also need to build your law firm’s onboarding materials and implement a training schedule. You need your staff to learn your firm and your brand inside and out. What services do you provide? How do you want your law firm to be seen? Your staff members are a direct reflection of your law firm, and should hold those same ideals if you expect them to grow with your law firm.
Your onboarding and training schedule should be efficient and realistic, but also give them time to adjust to their new role within your law firm. You should be clear about what responsibilities you expect them to take on as part of your team. It isn’t going to be easy going from a one-lawyer show to a practice with employees, but your efforts to delegate are sure to pay off when you chunk away at it little by little.
Choose the Right Staff for Your Small Law Firm
When you’re a solo lawyer, adding even one employee to your staff can have a dramatic impact on how your law practice operates. For this reason, choosing the right person to delegate to is critical. You need your new staff member to have strong people skills, as they will likely be one of the first interactions a prospective client has with a real person from your law firm.
You should select a staff members who are capable of handling your administrative and non-billable work. Time is money, and the more time you have to focus on client work, the more effective and profitable your law firm will be. If you are able to hire multiple staff members to handle your billing, receptionist, office management, and paralegal duties, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to practice law with fewer interruptions.
Finally, learning how to delegate efficiently can be a challenge for solo lawyers, but it could be a great way for you to lower costs and increase your law firm’s productivity. Outsourcing your administrative tasks, marketing efforts, bookkeeping, and other non-client focused work could be the best thing you can do for your law practice. Get organized with your onboarding materials and training schedule and hire the right staff to join your law firm.