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MANAGING STAFF

Exit interviews: You might be surprised by what you learn

By Lynne Curry bio “Good riddance” the supervisor mutters the day his employee leaves. As the practice manager, however, you have doubts. “Kate” is the third employee who’s resigned from your practice in the last 18 months. All three worked for “Jim.” If you want to learn the truth, you need to talk to these employees who’ve chosen to leave—before they carry away the answers you need. Here’s how: Let each resigning employee know you’d consider it a gift to the employee’s coworkers and you to learn his or her thoughts about working in your organization. If the employee worries about potential retribution, find out why and offer to hold the information you learn confidential. You can also allay any fears the employees may have by offering to provide reference… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Mandatory COVID vaccination: new guidance & update

By Lynne Curry bio Can employers require their employees to receive COVID-vaccinations? While vaccination is one of an employer’s best tools for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks at their worksites, requiring employees to be vaccinated and disciplining them if they refuse comes with legal risks. Although the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s December 2020 guidelines stated that employers could implement and enforce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for certain jobs and with certain exceptions1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that recipients of vaccines under an “emergency use authorization” (which includes the current COVID vaccines) must be informed that they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccination. For more detail on this federal agency contradiction, see https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/01/covid-vaccination-update-in-light-of-the-vaccines-emergency-use-authorization-status/ “The current problem,” says Perkins Coie Senior Counsel Michael O’Brien, “is that many employees… . . . read more

TOOL

Voluntary COVID-19 vaccination policy

It is important for you to ensure that your law office workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect not only themselves but also co-workers, clients and others at your facility. But what if employees neglect or just plain refuse to be vaccinated? There are two basic options: Option 1: Require workers to be vaccinated Option 2: Encourage workers to be vaccinated voluntarily Here’s a Model Policy you can use to implement Option 2.

TOOL

Model Social Distancing Policy

As the pandemic drags on, essential businesses that remain open must be scrupulous to ensure employees maintain social distancing both at and away from the workplace. Here’s a Model Policy you can adapt to accomplish that objective in accordance with your specific circumstances and the terms of the latest public health guidelines in effect in your state or city.

TOOL

Worker’s acknowledgement of decision to decline COVID-19 vaccination

It is important for you to ensure that law office workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect not only themselves but also co-workers, patients and others at your facility. But what if workers neglect or just plain refuse to be vaccinated? There are two basic options: Option 1: Require workers to be vaccinated Option 2: Encourage workers to be vaccinated voluntarily If you select Option 2, require workers to sign a form acknowledging that they were offered the vaccine and voluntarily declined to accept it and list the reasons for doing so. Here’s a Model Policy you can adapt.

MANAGING STAFF

Post-pandemic period a chance to try flexible staffing strategies

By Lynne Curry bio Question: COVID-19 hit our northern U.S. law practice hard. We cut employees, then salaries, and then we cut again. We lost half of our clients as their fortunes failed; other clients cut their work to the bone. Our revenue is down 70%. Some office staffers left our state when their spouses’ high-paying jobs evaporated. Others took off when COVID-19 combined with our cold, dark winter proved too much. Because these employees had talents we needed, we kept them as “snowbirds”. At first, it didn’t cause trouble. Everyone was working from home, so it didn’t matter where “home” was. Now that we’ve moved back into the office building, our local employees complain about the snowbirds. They feel the fair weather staff get an unfairly sweet deal, as… . . . read more

SURVEY SAYS

Tech, talent search and space reduction drive law firm changes

Change is a fact of life for law firms today, and leadership is fully aware—three in four survey respondents noted their firm’s partners are receptive to change. This need for change centers around two central premises: the need to improve real estate efficiency to stay lean and cost-competitive, and the need to evolve to attract talent and accommodate new ways of working. Despite these initiatives, the majority of respondents to a recent survey by Gensler Research Institute reported that their firm continues to lease more space than is necessary. Larger firms are more likely to have excess space on their books. Recently designed firms are less likely to have excess space, confirming the focus on space reduction in recent years—though even among those whose offices have been redesigned recently, one in… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

Checklist: How to evaluate an office space for a move

The past year of the pandemic has brought major changes in office space needs for law firms. Law professionals and administrative staff have been working from home and participating in remote meetings and court appearances. Some see the possibility of continuing to work remotely even after COVID-19 restrictions are loosened, and some see the possibility of moving to home and office to locations away from city centers. If these developments are playing out in your law office, you might be looking at downsizing to a smaller office space or even migrating to another part of the country. When you are looking at a different office space, you might find this office space evaluation checklist helpful: The most important question: How will the location and layout of this space contribute to… . . . read more

TRAINING

Are you measuring the right metrics for your law firm training program?

By Doug Striker bio I recently attended a fabulous webinar hosted by LearnUpon, the award-winning company that serves as the platform for our Savvy Academy Learning Management System. This webinar was designed to help learning and development (L&D) professionals quantitatively assess the impact of their training programs. Let’s face it—this is the biggest challenge of any training or educational program. Are you adding value to your firm? More important to upper management: Does your work contribute positively to the firm’s bottom line? During the webinar, Frances Kleven, Manager of Customer Success for LearnUpon, discussed: The key reasons leading L&D teams calculate the success of their learning programs. The most valuable metrics you should be recording. How to align your L&D metrics and business goals to develop a high-impact strategy. If… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

Zoom court appearance prep: Check for cat filters

Now that a lawyer has appeared as a kitten in a Zoom court hearing, we can add another item to the list of Zoom hearing best practices: Check the webcam for filters before joining the meeting. Last week an attorney accidentally joined a video conference of a civil forfeiture court hearing while using a webcam filter that made him look like a confused white kitten. “I’m here live. I’m not a cat,” Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton told Judge Roy Ferguson. “I can see that,” replied Ferguson, whose district covers five counties in West Texas, including the town of Marfa from which Ponton was calling. The short video clip, which was shared online by Ferguson, ends with others coaching the attorney on how to remove the cat filter. The judge… . . . read more


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