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Jan 17, 2012

Starting a Law Practice: Challenges and Tips – Phase II

Last week I responded to a question concerning starting a new law practice and I outlined the first phase of start-up. Eventually, you must address and face Phase II.
If you are successful in Phase I you will eventually need help whether it be administrative, paralegal, or another attorney. Now you must manage others as well as yourself. More office space will be required – especially if you are currently in a home or virtual office. A new set of skill sets (people skills) is now required.
Some Lawyers Never Develop the Skills Needed or Desire to Go to This Level and Firm Growth is Restricted as a Result.
I refer to this phase as Sole Owner Phase. I have client law firms in this phase than consist of an attorney owner, a handful of employed associates, paralegals, and staff. These firms may have 3 to 4 people or ten or more. I have sole owner law firms with over 100 employed attorneys and staff.

Phase II – Taking the Practice to the Next Level – New Challenges – New Skills Required
1. Additional People
a. Know what to look for
b. Know how to compensate attorneys and staff
c. Decide whether you are looking for long term vs. short term hires and relationships
2. Develop Skill Sets in the Following Areas – Managing Others – Finding, Managing, Motivating, Training and Retaining Talent
a. Hiring and Firing
b. HR Function
c. Devote time to managing others
d. Delegation of work
e. Supervision of work
3. Use the Following HR Tools and Processes
a. Job Descriptions
b. Performance Reviews and Evaluations
c. Office Policies and Procedures
d. Office Meetings (Meeting Management)
e. Personnel Records
f. Payroll and Reporting
g. Salary Administration
Key Challenge in Phase II – Knowing When You Have the Business and You Are Ready for This Phase

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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Posted at 08:52 PM in New Firm Startup
Tags: Starting a Law Practice

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