The Value in Listening to Your Staff

Law firms are hectic, busy places, and often in the search for the next client, the new case, or the next big interview, law firm managers can forget about something more vital to their firms than any large case – their staff. In my work, I see it over and over again, and I’ve mentioned it in almost all of my blog posts. The individuals that hold the keys to your law firm’s kingdom are your staff. Take the time to listen to what your staff have to say, and you can build a law firm built on trust and keep morale at an all-time high.

Technology: The attorneys don’t use it

When I interview staff about their current technology, how it’s used, and what is missing, the most frequent response I get is: This database would work great, except that the attorneys don’t use it, so what’s the point in me putting in too much effort? Have you heard this in your own law firm? There is no better way to waste your firm’s money than to buy a piece of technology and not have ANYONE use it correctly.

If you do not have buy-in from your attorneys, your staff will see no point in putting effort into a system that serves them no benefit and simply creates duplicative work. Ask your staff how they are using the technology the firm provides, and if this statement arises, sit down with your attorneys and offer more training, guidance, and support. Get everyone on the same page. This may mean an all hands on deck, firm wide meeting to discuss the use of the database.

Technology: I didn’t know it could do that

The other most common response I hear is: I didn’t know the database/Word/Excel did that!!! Invest in ongoing technological training for your staff and a few things will happen.

  1. Your staff feel empowered with knowledge.
  2. Your staff become more efficient; thus, saving the firm time and money.
  3. Your firm reaps the benefits of having well trained, technologically savvy personnel who believe that the firm will invest in them.

When your staff do not understand the technology they are using day in and day out, your firm is missing out on an opportunity to create an atmosphere of learning, shared knowledge, and increased efficiency.

Practice Management: No one is listening to me

The third most common complaint I hear from staff is that they feel no one in the firm’s management is listening to their complaints, needs, or wants. Alienating your staff only fosters an environment of disloyalty and low morale. Create fast and efficient communication channels for your staff. Sure, your staff can shoot an email to the head of HR, but will they get a response? Is there a firm-wide protocol for following up with staff who have questions or concerns? Create that protocol and make it very clear that their voices are being heard.

Often just knowing that your opinion has been heard can make all the difference.

Help!

I understand that you want to focus on your caseload, and you may simply not have the bandwidth to organize such meetings.  I can help you.  I am committed to helping law firms become more efficient and happier places for all employees.

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