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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of September 15, 2015

LawBiz(r) newsletter

For those celebrating this week, best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

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Staff: Valuing What Others Have to Offer

No law firm can successfully meet the challenges of a changing profession without the help of staff members who truly understand what their firms face and work to respond to the challenges. Lawyers come and go, but staff and administrators are the foundation on which the firm can build for the future. Thus, it is important to value these critical firm members—by giving proper recognition and by delegating responsibility.

Recognition can vary from the simple to the substantial. For example, including staff names on a website gives clients additional contacts to help them with nonlegal queries, which they may particularly like since these are people who wouldn’t be expected to issue a bill for the service, and it furthers the sense that the entire firm is a team. Similarly, printing business cards that recognize the existence of staff people and that they are part of the team enhances the morale of the entire firm. Inclusiveness will produce more harmony for all and boost productivity, thereby increasing the profitability of the firm.

At a higher level, recognition requires giving professional administrators the opportunity to do what they do better than lawyers can: manage the resources of the firm. Many lawyers are notoriously reluctant to delegate responsibility in their practices. In successfully managed law firms, however, lawyers allow administrators to administer and likewise allow assistants and other staff to do the work that they were hired to do so that the lawyers can focus on the work that only they can do—serving existing clients and marketing the practice to potential new ones. The arrangement only works, of course, when the right people are doing the work—staff people with the right congruency of skill, work ethic, and values.



Staff: Valuing What Others Have to Offer

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LawBiz® Registry: Buy or Sell Your Practice

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"Ed Poll created and presented your three-day workshop "Starting, Operating, Growing and Profiting from the Practice of Law" for our Law School, the Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Washington Law School Foundation. Ed's professional management skills and presentation talents provided our alumni and students with an outstanding program. The evaluations, both oral and written, were excellent and demonstrated that his audience agreed. One evaluator was particularly appreciative of the thought-provoking and interesting new concepts. Another said, "I have a much better understanding of what I'm to do -- I'm energized. Thank you!" Ed had a major impact on the future of our attendees; this is a unique quality and we are most appreciative of his efforts to create such an interesting and informative program. I enjoyed working with him and look forward to doing so again."

John F. Rapp
Director, CLE
University of Washington

"Ed Poll's efforts resulted in the success of our Mid Year CLE Program event. During the planning stages of this Mid Year Program, the Section's leadership indicated that if 75 lawyers attended the program, it would be considered a success. With our program attendance at over 100 attendees, the leadership clearly is very pleased with our efforts and want to continue bringing programs to the solo and small firm practitioner. We look forward to this challenge of making the Mid Year Program a regular event."

Lee S. Kolczun, Chair
Sole Practitioners and Small Firms Committee
American Bar Association

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