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Luddite Lawyers: What Vital Skills Your Firm Can Learn From Its Younger Associates

Lawyers aren’t luddites. At least, the upcoming generation of lawyers won’t be.

Thanks to technology-savvy law school professors like Bonnie Kipp, law school graduates will forevermore understand the importance of technology in the courtroom and in cases.

Nicole Black for Above The Law (ATL) blog describes, “Today’s Tech: How An Adjunct Professor Teaches Law Students Trial Technology.” In this article, Black introduces Bonnie Kipp, an adjunct professor at Michigan State University and judicial assistant for Judge McKeague in the United States Court of Appeals. Professor Kipp teaches “Technology Enhanced Trial Advocacy” and similar courses since 2005 after becoming a certified trainer on electronic evidence presentation software.

“I began teaching law students how to use trial technology after watching attorneys struggle with the technology. Our courtroom was one of the first to be wired for technology presentation and when the judge began to require lawyers to use it, I realized how difficult it was for many of them. I wanted to simplify the learning curve, so I started teaching law students how to use these tools,” said Professor Kipp to ATL.

A struggle to which your firm—particularly among its more “experienced” lawyers—can certainly relate.

“I teach students how to use Trial Director which is electronic evidence presentation software operated from a laptop, and which also includes a free corresponding iPad app. Recently I began to teach the students how to use other iPad apps, some of which are created specifically for trial presentation, while others have more general applications. Apps taught include Keynote, Timeline 3D, TrialPad, JuryTracker, iJuror, Dragon Dictation, Evernote, and WestlawNext. I also teach TD Notebook, which is a cloud-based app for case preparation which permits lawyers to work in a collaborative environment to prepare case for trial.”

Don’t recognize any of those app names? Well, you should. Using the iPad for trial presentations is not new. And, neither is software that helps attorneys with case preparation.

Steep learning curve? Maybe not. While experienced attorneys at your may advise younger associates about trial practice, younger associates—fresh out of courses like Kipp’s—have a value-add in their own right. They can help explain the uses for each of the above apps.

Don’t be too proud to accept help from your more technically proficient pair. Mentoring is a two-way street. So, ask a first-year associate how they use some of these digital tools for case management. In turn, you’ll have plenty to impart from your end.

“[Technical] skills absolutely give students an edge over students without this experience. For example, the resumes of many recent law graduates often look alike. But a student who’s been in a trial advocacy program, who has had hands on learning with trial practice, and has learned electronic evidence presentation will definitely stand out,” explains Professor Kipp to ATL.

“In fact, we’ve had students tell us they’ve taken their laptop with them to job interviews to showcase their electronic evidence presentation skills and they’ve felt that it’s helped them get jobs.”

If your firm is hiring, transform the interview into a mock trial presentation. Don’t simply ask a graduate law student about their expertise, let them demonstrate it to you. This same associate may also be able to lead the charge when it comes to in-house training for your other law firm professionals.

The best part about modern technology is the options it provides. There is likely an app best suited to the specific practices and culture of your firm. If not, there are ample app programmers willing to create one for your firm.

Technology can be tailored to your needs, so you just need to lay out an implementation plan. Consult experts if you don’t know where to begin. Make sure there is at least one lawyer-liaison who speaks regularly with your IT Department. In fact, consider assigning one of the younger associates to this position.

Younger associates are anxious for leadership roles. Technology is an arena where young lawyers can thrive, boost your firm’s bottom line, and help improve overall productivity.

Even at an age where they may not be bringing in new business to the firm, younger associates can feel a sense of loyalty and attachment to their firm by taking on a greater role of responsibility.

In the end, technology is not a miracle solution to all law firm inefficiency.

“Certainly whenever you’re working with technology, nothing is set in stone and things don’t always go as planned. But the possibility that technology can fail doesn’t outweigh the benefit of using it. The key is to practice, practice, practice. That way it becomes second nature and doesn’t add to the stress of an already stressful trial,” explains Professor Kipp to ATL.

“And always have a plan B in case technology issues arise. You need a hard copy of exhibits to send back to the jury anyway so if the worst-case scenario happens and the technology goes down you have the hard copies available. So, no matter what, it’s always important to have a plan B.”

The upside to integrating technology in your firm is that your staff—currently proficient in paper—already has a plan B in place.

Don’t know where you firm stands in terms of technical skills? Take C4CM’s audio course, “Suffolk/Flaherty Technology Audit: Is Your Firm Ready?” to help your firm assess individual lawyers skills and training needs at your firm.


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“Dear Lawyers, I’m Here To Stay.” -Technology

The fight against drones, Google Glass, or other new technology has gotten violent this month, with a woman attacking a 17-year old boy for flying a drone on a Connecticut beach, reports Forbes.

It’s one of the first time criminal charges were filed, as opposed to just name-calling or social criticism.

“It’s easy to call these people Luddites, after the British workers who set about destroying machines—and in some cases killing the people who owned them—in the late 1700s and early 1800s in a futile attempt to turn back the tide of mechanization. It led Britain to pass a law making machine-wrecking punishable by death,” writes Jeff Bercovici for Forbes.

“But the new machine destroyers’ motivations are different. The original Luddites were worried machines would take their jobs; the Neo-Luddites fear machines will steal their privacy.”

Except, we no longer live in a world where technology is a choice.

There’s no way to turn off or opt-out of the video surveillance cameras in your city or from Internet searches of your name by others. In law, lawyers are fond of calling their practice “traditional” and eschewing modern tools. But even they can’t stop courts from taking e-filings only.

The Above The Law (ATL) Legal Tech Terms Survey sought to learn about its readers’ familiarity with the following concepts: Information Governance, Predictive Coding, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, and Dark Data. Its results were shocking:

In follow-up questions, over a quarter of respondents who self-identified as litigators—the cohort presumably most versed in e-discovery—characterized predictive coding as irrelevant to their career or had “no idea” whether or not it was relevant, reports ATL.

And, less than 50 percent of respondents believe that cybersecurity is an “essential” aspect of their career, reports the same survey by ATL.


Amid controversies like ExamSoft’s giant debacle regarding bar exam uploading, it’s clear that the legal profession needs to rapidly update its way-of-thinking and its way of working with technology.

In a recent ATL blog post, Alex Rich describes five reasons why lawyers should embrace technology or be left in another firm’s dust. Here are some highlights:

First, technology is here to stay. Unlike crop tops or ripped jeans, technology is neither a fad nor cyclical. So, it’s time to learn the review platform your case is using or even the software available to you via the IT department. Mostly you don’t want to embarrass yourself, as Rich says, “when you ask why the 3 terabytes of data cannot be reviewed in Concordance.”

Second, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. There’s no way you will convince colleagues that physical document review (as in, files) is more efficient than reviewing e-discovery scanned into the computer. So, don’t try. Leave the yellow note pad at your desk and pick up an iPad on your way home.

Third, increase your family time. Ok, Rich—perhaps a more realistic attorney—actually wrote that technology increases the illusion of family time by allowing you to take the office mobile. So, you may not be paying full attention to your daughter’s softball game when you’re answering Re: Urgent, urgent, urgent! e-mails on your smartphone. But, hey, you’re there, right?

Fourth, get excited about high-quality distractions. This can be anywhere from streaming sports games or listening to e-books during document review. Rich writes, “Document review (as well as a whole host of other legal tasks) is frequently so boring that you need a distraction to occupy part of your brain while you go through the mundane chore of selecting the appropriate issue tag. And when it comes to quality distractions, well, technology’s got your back.” Just be careful that you’re not violating your firm’s internal policies by browsing Facebook instead of giving face time to firm clients.

Fifth, low-tech has its own problems. You may get annoyed when technology fails, but isn’t human error worse? Also, Rich doesn’t fondly remember the days of lugging around heavy boxes full of documents for discovery, getting paper cuts as you go through them, and getting ill from breathing in dust everyday for months at a time.

Technology might be that proverbial double-edged sword, but wouldn’t you rather be the person wielding it than the one behind it?

Start with the basics: Learn tips and tricks for using Excel, PowerPoint, and MS Word to improve productivity at your firm here.

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Alternatives To “Big Law” For Recent Grads & “Out Of The Box” Law Firm Strategies

The good news is, this week Forbes reports, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the U.S. Economy added 203,000 jobs in November, bringing unemployment down to a shockingly low 7 percent.

In addition to a lower unemployment rate, this week, the labor force participation rate was stronger, up to 63 percent from 62.8 percent last month, reports the same statistics.

So, in sum, the government is back in business and—better yet—reporting optimistic numbers for our employment outlook.

What’s the bad news?

The bad news is, employment for lawyers is still low. It has been difficult for the legal industry to efficiently match demand for low-cost legal services with the overabundant supply of highly educated (and thus enormously-expensive) legal professionals.

Law firms are still struggling to find the right combination of partners and associates.

And, the new generation of graduates is unlikely to see a return of the old BigLaw system offering stable, well-paying jobs. Of the 2012 law school graduates in private practice, just under half—43 percent—landed jobs at firms with between two and 10 layers, according to the National Association for Law Placement, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“Looking for other ways to practice law successfully is something people ought to be focusing on more,” said New York City Bar President, Carey R. Dunne, a former prosecutor and partner at law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, to the WSJ.

According to Mr. Dunne, the pool of well-paid jobs at big law firms is shrinking as clients push back on price and lower-cost alternatives, like outsourcing to foreign or in-house counsel.

Luckily, new programs are cropping up to solve this crisis.

The New York Bar Association is trying out a variety of alternatives to law firm placement for recent grads, such as placing novice lawyers in apprenticeships with big banks or other employers. They are also starting a new law firm that will test whether young attorneys can make a decent living while helping Americans who can’t doll out market rate.

Brooklyn Law School, in another attempt to match legal supply with demand, is launching a program that will place students in government and nonprofit organizations, which then hire them for at least one year after graduation, reports the WSJ.

Finally, Cisco Systems Inc. is planning to team up with the University of Colorado Law School on a program where students will be paid to work full time in the company’s legal department for around seven months, take classes to make up missed course work, and then receive a semester in free tuition.

“My goal is to develop a significant number of companies and law firms that are willing to take two or three students per year and do this, and create a really robust national program,” said Cisco’s general counsel, Mark Chandler, to the WSJ.

“I’m hoping that this is just one idea of many that will blossom.”

And, with the right education or private partnerships, your law firm can also create innovative training programs for their young associates.

It take a lot of effort to step outside that box, but—once you’re there—a world of opportunity (and efficiency) awaits.


Still need some creative inspiration? Read C4CM’s guide on Creating The Flexible Workplace.

You’ll find tips and tricks on how to:

  • Lower costs associated with employee absenteeism
  • Improved staff retention and recruitment efforts
  • Maximized employee productivity and performance
  • Improved quality and effectiveness of employee  work and personal lives
  • Decreased health care utilization costs
  • Reduced organizational facilities’ costs
  • Enhanced reputation as an employer of choice

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5 Things That Make You Less Productive (& Popular) At The Office

Are you finding that your days are less productive than you’d like? Are you developing an unpopular repuation at the office, but don’t know why? Perhaps you’re doing one of the following five things guaranteed to slow down progress and aggravate your peers.

1. Being Late To Meetings

Maybe you’re the boss. Or, maybe you’re assigned the firm’s biggest case. It’s possible you had a really important phone call that ran long.

But, whatever the reason, there is no excuse for being late to a meeting. First, meetings are usually on the books well ahead of time, which means you should not have scheduled that phone call with a client a mere 30 minutes before.

And yes, you may be the boss so you’re time is most valuable. But, when you force 10 employees to wait 10 minutes for you to grace them with your presence, that’s a lot of misspent billable hours. It may actually exceed the value of your own.

Furthermore, if you interrupt a meeting that has already started, you may not be able to catch up on the subject-matter, which—in turn—makes you less essential to your team and less prepared for the work at hand.

Finally, even if there is a mildly-acceptable excuse for your tardiness, employees (and certainly managers) tend to dislike those colleagues who are habitually late to meetings. It shows a lack of respect to your peers and lack of time-management skills to your bosses.

It’s time to be on time.

If you’re having trouble finding the time, delegate. Take The Center For Competitive Management’s (C4CM) audio course Effective Delegation, and discover strategies to improve your law firm’s productivity and performance.

2. Take a phone call or check an e-mail while talking with a colleague

Law firm professionals have all done this at one point or another. It’s hard to ignore your Blackberry, especially when it’s pinging over and over. It’s instinct to look down, check your phone, and claim to be still listening.

The problem is, you’re not listening. And, most likely, the other person has stopped talking. Why? It’s impossible to take somebody seriously (or be taken seriously) when you’re faced with the top of a person’s head.

The quickest way to lose productivity in a conversation (and the respect of your peer) is to prioritize incoming mail to their in-person dialogue.

Don’t look down at your phone. Don’t even faux-pologetically say, “excuse me,” because, again, there’s no excuse for this type of behavior.

Double booked? Cope with multi-tasking, too many projects, and all those pesky incoming phone calls by taking C4CM’s course Effective Time Management.

3. Live on e-mail or the phone

Although there are many reasons to be grateful for today’s digital universe, don’t live virtually. You’re not an avatar. You’re a real person. So, think about whether or not it’s easier to get up from your desk, and have certain conversations in person.

On occasion, show your face around the office. There’s nothing more aggravating and counter-productive as receiving a phone call or e-mail from your colleague in the cubicle or office next door.

Are you hiding behind a domain name? Some conversations are difficult to have. But, that’s no excuse to resort to impersonal e-mail. Learn how to say in-person: “You’ve been accused of sexual harassment”…“Your performance is unacceptable”…“Your colleagues have complained about an offensive odor coming from your cubicle.” Take C4CM’s course Handling Difficult Conversations.

4. Don’t learn from your mistakes

Oops. You tapped reply-all instead of reply. It happens.

But, it shouldn’t happen twice.

The quickest way to lose favor and office-place efficiency is by repeating your mistakes. If you have problems with reply-all, then disable that feature on your e-mail service.

If you have a bad habit of misspelling the same word, then delete it from your MS Word dictionary. That way, each time the word appears, you must manually check it for errors.

Be proactive about learning from your mistakes and you’ll become much more productive around the office.

When it comes to learning from mistakes… document, document, document! Many organizations either fail to document or do not document correctly. Poor documentation can be just as hazardous to your company as no documentation at all. Learn about Best Practices for Developing and Maintaining Effective Documentation Practices with C4CM’s Guide.

5. Participate in workplace gossip

Workplace gossip can wreak havoc on an organization. It’s a morale killer.  It breeds resentment and becomes a roadblock to effective communication and collaboration.

Nevertheless, it’s human nature to complain, everybody gossips. You can choose, however, to ignore it. Become a one-man black hole. Gossip goes in, but never returns.

If you find yourself in desperate need to gossip, call a friend outside the office. Tell them the same story, but with the comfort of knowing that it won’t return full-circle to your colleagues in question. If you’re having a rough day with the boss, don’t walk next door to complain. Walk around the block.

Your office—and managers—know which employees participate in toxic talk. And, rest assured, gossiping is not part of the positive points on your performance review.

Managers can learn to minimize the effects of toxic talk with proper training. Consider C4CM’s course, Effective Management of Workplace Gossip.

Curb a few, if not all, of these unpopular and unproductive behaviors and you will find, finally, just reward for your work.


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How To Handle Needy Clients (& Still Get Work Done!)

Whether you’re practicing in large corporate firm or small mom-and-pop shop, as an attorney, you’ll keep facing the same issue: lengthy client consultation.

It may be in-person or over the phone, but lengthy client conversations happen, and they cost your firm money. Unfortunately, you can’t always bill these consultations as a client call.

In fact, keeping up with the issues your clients face is part of the job. It’s important to address client concerns, lay out case timetables, and explain the legal process. However, clients often can’t tell the difference between a legal issue and one, well, for a different type of professional—the psychiatrist.

“Clients want to talk about things that have nothing to do with the legal work I have to do. They ask the same questions that you can’t answer: ‘When will this be over?’ or, ‘Do you think (this) will happen?’ You’re tired of telling the client, ‘I don’t know, but just be patient.’ The client calls and says he “read” this, or “heard” this,’ or worse, ‘My friend had a case like this and…’” recalls Brian Tannebaum in his Above The Law article, “Strengthening the Attorney/Client Relationship.”

The problem is, law is personal.

For the small-business owner faced with the risk of losing his legacy, successfully passing on a business to his children that he built for decades from the ground up is no small issue at all. The woman filing for divorce or fighting for custody of children is understandably emotional. Imprisonment or freedom is, for many, a choice between life or death.

Everyday occurrences for attorneys are special occasions—and mostly stressful ones—for clients. Nevertheless, attorneys can’t play therapist to every needy client.

So how can you avoid unnecessarily long client consultations? Try empowering your assistant.

Train your assistant to handle those difficult client calls. For example, a legal assistant should understand the legal process and be aware of specific case updates or news to answer most client questions. He or she can certainly learn to disarm angry clients or soothe anxious ones.

Make sure it doesn’t seem like you are dismissing your clients. For example, don’t use phrases like “let me hand you to my assistant.” Instead, say things like “Mary handles your invoices,” or “John is really the person you should speak to…”

Get in the habit of handing off certain business or client calls to your assistant, that way your clients are comfortable hear his or her voice.

More than that, make sure your clients are aware of your assistant’s extensive expertise. Assistants come in all shapes and sizes. Because of the technical and complicated nature of law, legal assistants stand apart in specialization and certification.

Not to mention the billable hour of your assistant is less cumbersome than senior partner time.

When you have particularly needy clients, don’t shirk their calls. Due diligence involves, sometimes, a bit of handholding. Give your assistant a quick brief about the specific needs of your client, and have them handle status update phone calls or emails. Your assistant should always keep a tone of confidence and authority.

The idea is to empower your assistant, not enfeeble your clients.

Assistants shouldn’t, obviously, handle all communication. But, to keep up with the demands of your practice, there’s nothing wrong with managing the time of your clients and your staff more efficiently.

With this in mind, make sure you hire an experienced and knowledgeable legal assistant. With so many lawyers and legal professionals out of work, there’s labor-lost when it comes to hiring the right man or woman for the job. Consider looking for a person with a psychology background, as that’s the role they frequently play.

Start by writing a job description for the ideal candidate. Then, include adequate training that should include, for example, client interaction guidelines.

Boost the attorney-client relationship at your firm by not actually handling the relationship, yourself.


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The Hidden Costs Of Being Too Picky: Advice For Firms, Associates & Clients

Many Americans are out of work in the recession, but attorneys, specifically, are experiencing an overwhelming over-saturation of the job market.

At the same time, myriad employers are complaining about not finding the right fit for their firm. Companies protest that there is a skills-mismatch between computer illiterate older candidates versus young inexperienced applicants in today’s technologically-evolving world.

Meanwhile, recent graduates are refusing jobs. There’s a desire to “love what you do” despite the fact that there’s not enough to do in our suffering economy.

Finally, clients complain about high fees and billing structure for their legal representation; and yet, there’s plenty of competition for legal services on the market.

So, we ask, who is being too picky here? The employee, the employer, or the client? And, who has the most to lose in this confusing situation?

“I think it’s important to remember that employers control everything about the process. They define the job, they create the requirements for the job, then they decide how the word gets out to people, recruiting-wise,” explains Peter Cappelli, director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources, in an interview with Knowledge@Wharton in Forbes.

“They set the rate of pay, which helps determine how attractive the job is, and then they handle the selection part where they look at the applicants and sort them out.”

The power of employers is at the heart of this problem. Employers believe that in a recessed economy, they can afford to be picky. As a result, many job openings remain unfilled.

“That’s certainly part of the problem—that the internal accounting systems in most organizations are so poor that they can’t tell what it costs them to keep a position vacant,” says Cappelli.

“They easily know how much it costs to employ somebody, but they can’t measure that employee’s contributions. So, in most companies, given their accounting systems, it actually looks like they’re saving money by keeping positions vacant. If you think that’s the story, then you’re obviously in no rush to hire. I think it starts there, and that’s clearly not a good thing for society or for employers.”

What’s another problem? Being too stingy with salaries.

Price must meet demand. So, if more attorneys are looking for work, the salaries that greet them must be lowered. Fair enough.

But, according to survey by Manpower, eleven percent of polled employers said they can’t get people to accept the job at the wage offered. Cappelli says, it’s not a mismatch of skills, these firms are just being cheap.

Attorneys have expensive student loans, families, and other financial obligations. Plus, they have a set of unique and specialized skills to offer. With a 50-plus hour workweek in store, if your firm can’t meet the minimum wage requirement of the job, people will prefer to stay at home (or start their own business and compete for your clients).

Employers, forgetting to invest in your own staff is hurting your firm.

Employers these days have forgotten about paying their dues. That’s right, bosses and firms are obligated to train their employees. Although it may be ideal to hire somebody with previous experience, it’s likely cheaper to hire a recent graduate and train them, instead.

Employees, for your turn, you are too picky about finding the “right” job.

Employees shouldn’t accept positions where they simply “pay their dues.” Employees should hold out for that job whose training does, in fact, pay dividends in experience. Nevertheless, employees—like employers—should count training as a benefit. It costs the employer money and it gives the employee skills. Plus, despite the well-known difficulties of a recession, being unemployed for long doesn’t look good on a resume.

If a job offer provides a lower-than-average wage but a higher-than-average training opportunity, don’t discount the latter—it is equivalent to payment.

Being too picky about salary without considering the perks of training is to the detriment of employees. Mentorship and training by experienced, older employees is invaluable—and unattainable if you start your own company directly out of college. Self-employment or lengthy unemployment may leave an individual with little options in the future–the hidden cost of a picky grad.

Finally, clients, recently, have the feeling they’re being cheated by law firms. High billable hours and competition among firms should benefit the client, right?

Unfortunately, clients often want to have their cake and eat it too. Clients want law firms to produce innovative work and billing schemes, and also compete for their business. Businesses should become more proactive when looking for representation.

Not satisfied with your current firm? You risk being left without representation at all. In this environment, that’s something entrepreneurs can’t afford. No lawyer is always worse than keeping your current lawyer.

Law firms should adapt with the economic recession and remain strategic about their hiring practices. This includes being open to client suggestions—or, at least, making it clear that suggestions by both employees and clients are welcome.

In any job, there are opportunities and then there are challenges. The key is acknowledging both. The truth is, in the best or the worst of times, it never pays to be too picky. Firms, associates, and clients should each compromise and find a middle-ground. Mutual gain is the way to achieve long-term success.


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5 Ways Your Firm Is Unknowingly Wasting Money

It’s true. The crystal vase in every senior partner’s office is a waste of money. And, nobody ate the catered food provided for today’s client meeting.

But, forget about the little extravagancies. Think, instead, about the everyday behavior and continual misspending at your firm.

You might be surprised to discover your law firm is wasting money in the most unsuspecting of ways. Find out why the following five money gluts are bound to catch up to your bottom-line.

1. Overstaffing projects

When firms are concerned with revenue, they look to increase billable hours. So, managers assign multiple associates to a single project, which not only boosts billables, it also seemingly increases the benefits to clients.

But, more hands on deck may not lead to more dollars in the bank.

Overstaffing a project leads to inefficiencies. Instead of making progress on a case, attorneys are duplicating work and then spending more time to filter out the redundancies.

And, instead of seeking out new clients or business streams, law firm partners are wasting valuable hours figuring out who did what and when for their cases.

Overstaffing projects can actually reduce your firm’s efficiency and profitability. Clients may become dissatisfied with results, employees disgruntled over long hours, and the opportunity to explore other revenue streams will certainly be missed.

There’s no added value to redundancy.

2. Using paper

Ok, enough with the photocopies.

Law firm professionals are inundated with documentation, from internal memos to official filings. But, there’s no longer a need to print out every single document—and definitely no need to create binders of discovery.

If discovery was collected and sent to your firm electronically, discourage employees from printing it out.

Not only does your firm run an added security risk should these binders of confidential information get lost or leaked, but going paperless makes more sense financially and environmentally.

Between laptop computers, smartphones, easy-to-view tablets, and cloud storage, there’s no excuse for turning digital age of legal documentation into the dark age.

3. Providing no training to employees

When employees are first hired by a firm, they need to be trained on a firm’s resources. Assistants, paralegals, and attorneys alike need training. There is no exception.

Showing employees where the MS Office templates are located, how to properly fill out a timesheet, and where to find the conference room is simple. Knowing that every employee is confortable with your legal software or specific computer packages, however, is not.

Don’t skip out on training. Your firm will pay for it later with lost productivity and poor time management. The last thing you need is a filing deadline missed by an attorney who has never seen an e-filing before.

4. Keeping the morale killer

You know that one person in the office who is always spreading gossip? Or that individual who always has a complaint on hand but never a positive thing to say?

Office morale declines when managers let it. Law firm managers are responsible for setting the right attitudes and incentives to keep employees motivated and productive. When there’s a person poisoning the atmosphere, it’s time to make a change.

Talk to that person. Come to a resolution. If necessary, create a morale-boosting event for your team. Whatever the problem, find a solution sooner rather than later. If you’re keeping the morale killer—unknowingly—you’re killing the productivity of others, too.

5. Catering to your weakest link

Law firm partners of a certain generation tend to be resistant to change. But, are you letting your weakest link dictate your firm’s direction?

Sometimes the weakest link in a work force is also the most outspoken one. As a result, policy for all tends to conform to the wishes of one.

Let everybody in your firm have a voice. Whether it’s to refine firm strategy or create new policies, make sure you’re not holding back your firm’s best interests (and revenue) to appease one obstinate partner.


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