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Characteristics of a modern compensation plan for lawyers

By Brenda A. Barnes and Camille Stell A successful compensation plan should reflect shared goals and values. A successful plan also requires trust among the members of the firm. A winning compensation plan aligns the values of the law firm with relevant, up-to-date market data. Here are additional components of a modern compensation plan. Evergreen Compensation plans must be constantly evolving. What worked 10 years ago is likely not working well today and what works today may not work five years from now. The legal system has faced as much change in the past 10 years as in prior decades. Everything about the system has changed, from the amount of law school debt that the majority of young lawyers have, to the changing face of legal competition. Continually reviewing and… . . . read more

HUMAN RESOURCES

Coming out at work

By Lynne Curry “He’s talented but anti-social,” the business owner said of his accounting manager when he called. “At first, we thought the problem was that “Gene” was a finance type and kind of a geek. But there have been odd comments from others over the last two years,” explained the business owner as he asked for my help as an HR consultant. “The latest problem is he doesn’t want to attend our Christmas party. We’ve asked all the managers to make an appearance. We’d like to promote him to CFO and don’t want someone unstable in that position. Could you interview him and give us a read?” Gene sent me a Zoom link for the interview and was tight-lipped, so I invited him to meet off-site. Before we met,… . . . read more

TELEWORK

Still managing remote staff? 8 tips to do it better

As lawyers continue to drag their feet about returning to work at the office, many legal support staff also want to continue to work remotely. Unless your law office is taking a hard stance about working on the premises, it’s likely you will continue to supervise some of your team from afar. While managing a remote workforce can present its own set of challenges, it can also be a highly effective way for law offices to expand their reach and attract top talent. So let’s review some tips for effective management of remote law office staff. Clearly communicate expectations: One of the key challenges of managing a remote workforce is ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. It is important to clearly communicate… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Do you just open your mouth and let the words fly?

By Lynne Curry When you’re upset with another person, do you open your mouth and let your emotions erupt and words fly? If you want to resolve an interpersonal conflict, you can’t afford to blast the other person. While you may feel vindicated, you risk the other person attacking back, getting defensive or shutting down If you want things to become better and not worse between you and the other person, learn to tackle yourself first, open the conversational door to the other person, remain results-focused, word your thoughts so they can be heard, and admit your part in the problem. Tackle yourself before you slam the other person When you’re upset, adrenaline can hit you like a wave. Don’t let it swamp you and torpedo your chances of attaining… . . . read more

PRODUCTIVITY

3 questions to ask in your daily standup meetings

A daily standup meeting can be a highly effective way to keep your staff motivated and moving on important tasks. This 10-minute meeting, used in a variety of workplaces, provides an opportunity for a quick check-in on the day’s priorities. As the name implies, participants stand up—a posture that discourages long discussion. The meeting is so short no one bothers to find a seat. You should schedule the meeting at the same time and place deal. The start of the shift, after staff arrives and gets settled for work but before the office opens to clients, is one common time to schedule the regular standup meeting. You should also start on time rather than wait for latecomers. You can use the time to review ongoing projects such as filing backlog…. . . . read more

RISK MANAGEMENT

Get a grip on costly office gossip

By Dr. Steve M. Cohen No matter how distracting, office gossip is something that no manager will ever completely eradicate. Like other human foibles, it’s too ingrained in our systems. That doesn’t mean you should ignore it or let it dominate your workplace. Office gossip is increasingly dangerous to many workplaces, including medical offices. It’s not that people do it more or are more prone to harmful dialogue. But with email, text, and social media, the potential for surreptitious and harmful communications is easier than ever. Like “mean girls” (or boys) in junior high school, some people don’t seem to be able to keep themselves from spreading dirt on someone else. The psychological reasons for this are many and too complex for this blog, but it’s not unusual for a… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

Should a lawyer do administrative tasks to save money?

By Elizabeth M. Miller Should a lawyer do administrative tasks to save money? Of course, the answer is no. Struggling business owners will spend time to save money, whereas successful business owners will spend money to save time. Because you can always get more money⁠—you cannot get more time. So, you need to ensure the work you spend your time on makes the biggest impact. This is called leverage and leverage is the best kept secret of the rich. It works like this: If you spend five hours per week on administrative work at $400 per hour x 4.3 weeks per month it will cost you $8,600.00 per month of billable client hours. Over the course of a year that is $103,200.00 of billable time that you could be billing… . . . read more

INSIGHT

Office politics and how it damages your firm

By Elizabeth M. Miller  bio
Office politics can be a problem in any size law firm—from a firm as large as 1000+ to as little as a solo practitioner with 2 staff members…


. . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Speaking truth to power

By Lynne Curry What happens when you imagine marshaling your courage and telling the law practice managing partner or someone else in a position of authority that he’s made the wrong judgment call? Do you fear retaliation or making a problem situation worse? If speaking the truth to power feels as risky as jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, you’re not alone. Courageously confronting authority can entail personal and professional danger. The problem, however, isn’t speaking the truth; it’s how you speak it. You can’t march in with verbal guns blazing, making aggressive “got ya” statements. Instead, you need to earn the right, avoid hit-and-run collisions, act as a partner, provide facts, and prepare to be challenged. Earn the right Who do we allow to tell us what… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

12 MORE marketing secrets of superstar lawyers

By Trey Ryder #13: They provide client service beyond compare. They return phone calls quickly. They work day and night to finish projects. They have backup plans for their backup plans. They err on the side of caution. They hire a bright, responsive support staff. And they always go the extra mile. Whatever it takes, they get the job done. And the superstar’s staff is equally committed to bring the client the best result on time, on budget. #14: They make sure everybody knows they welcome new business. One obstacle successful lawyers face is that other lawyers think they don’t want new clients. As a result, they quit referring cases. When prospecting for new clients, superstar lawyers know it is far better to receive too many inquiries than too few. They make… . . . read more


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