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Five personalities to weed out when hiring for staff positions

Just as important as being able to do the work and being willing to do the work is having a personality that fits the job…

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6 ways to keep or lose a good hire

Offices expend great effort finding the right hires.
But what they too often fail to see is that the success of all new employees…

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Why the new Massachusetts law matters, regardless of where your firm is located

Massachusetts recently signed into law An Act to Establish Pay Equity, S.2119, which takes effect on July 1, 2018. The new law prevents wage discrimination based on…

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Five dangers in dealing with harassment complaints

As with firing, the rules are well known, yet employers still fall into the common violations that spawn claims of sexual harassment, says management consultant Joseph Godwin of F&H Solutions Group in…

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Assigning secretaries to case types improves litigation work flow

A Tulsa administrator had serious secretarial problems. Work flow was stymied, productivity was down, client service was suffering, and morale was low.
The cure, however, was simple. It was nothing more than a secretary reassignment strategy. Now the secretaries still work for specific attorneys but at the same time, each secretary is assigned to handle all the work in a specific area of law.
The outcome is that every matter has one full-time secretarial overseer who has charge of the work from beginning to…

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A manual that covers the entire administration

A Washington, D.C. administrator has set up an operations manual that covers every imaginable item of managing the firm.
It holds the basics of everything so that when she is out, the firm “can be on autopilot and keep the trains running on time,” says Jill D. Hirsch, chief operating officer of Slevin & Hart. And, she says, “it’s for me as well as for someone stepping in for me.” No administrator can remember every detail of the office’s operations, so it’s a quick reference whenever a question arises.
The manual covers the daily administrative procedures, the emergency procedures, the accounting controls, the recruiting – everything. There’s also a timeline, so if a partner wants to…
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5 proven ways to spot and avoid hiring potentially “toxic employees” … and what to do if you already have them

Got toxins in the office?
Toxins are people who cause dissent. They undermine people. They create an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion. They kill the camaraderie.
They are toxic because they cause enough misery to force worthwhile staffers to leave.
Law firms are notorious for putting up with toxic people at both the attorney and staff levels.
Professional people are not natural managers. Instead of facing conflict, they tend…

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Use contract employees and temporary workers to solve difficult staffing issues

If your legal practice is like most, it’s difficult to make a case for adding full-time office staff.
And it’s no wonder. Full-time employee benefits, including Social Security, 401k/403b contribution, disability insurance, health insurance, pension plan, and paid time off, add approximately 40 percent to an employee’s salary, according to, a leading provider of salary information.
In theory, that 40 percent per full-time employee could pay the salary of a part-time employee. But it doesn’t work that way. Meanwhile, there’s only so much money and it only stretches so far.
Yet, even when armed with knowledge and a greater understanding of dollars and cents, the fact remains that your office requires…

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Orientation also keeps or loses that good hire

Orientation determines the success and retention of a new hire.
It’s a necessary element, says employment law attorney and business advisor Katie Pratt of Berg Hill Greenleaf & Ruscitti in Denver.
“It sets a foundation” of what the firm expects of the new employee and what the new employee can expect of the firm.
It’s also legal protection, because it solidifies the office’s policies as well as the at-will employment status.
A pre-first day visit
Begin the orientation with an informal get-to-know-you session several days before the…
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Three errors that can cause wrongful termination problems

Though every employer knows – or should know – the rules for safe firing, mistakes still happen when it comes to showing an employee the door, says Peter Golden, a business and employment law attorney with The Golden Law Firm in Atlanta.
In his own practice, he finds that employers most often fall down on three points: missed documentation, unfair employee comparisons, and skipping steps in progressive discipline.
1. Anything in writing helps
Lack of documentation heads the list.
It comes up over and over again. Despite all the warnings…

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