Law Firm Human Resources for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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It takes a lot more than just lawyers to make a law firm work. From secretaries who keep an office running to paralegals who make sure your filings actually get filed, successful lawyers require a whole team to keep them afloat. (You could, of course, answer your own phones and file your own filings -- but you can bill a lot more when you're spending that time lawyering.)

How much do those teams need to make?

If you're considering bringing more lawyers into your practice, hiring support staff, or just want to see how your riches measure up against your neighbors', we've got good news for you. Robert Half Legal, the staffing agency, has released its 2016 Salary Guide. The guide breaks down typical salary ranges for a wide variety of legal careers, from attorneys in midsize firms with 7 years experience to compliance managers fresh out of school.

Here are our highlights. So grab a ruler, because it's time to see how you measure up.

You can't do it all yourself. At some point, you've got to hand work off to someone else. Great! Proper delegation is an integral part of running an effective firm. After all, your associates, interns, and paralegals need something to do. And delegation can help save your clients money by passing work off to those with lower billing rates.

But delegating is useless when you don't really relinquish some control. Excessive micromanaging -- checking in constantly, making needless corrections, demanding that everything is done exactly as you would do it all the time -- wastes both your time and your staff's. Here are three tips to help avoid it.

When it comes to recruiting new attorneys, it can be hard for small practices and boutique firms to compete with for top talent -- but it's not impossible. After all, there's a reason you don't work for a major firm. Because those jobs are awful. Instead of being another overpaid drone working ten hours every day on a brief no one will see, you decided to set out for something different.

What drew you to your practice can also draw others. A committed small firm, focused on what sets it apart from the crowd, can still compete with bigger employers and bring in the talent it needs to advance.

Few firms have physical libraries anymore, but that doesn't mean there's no work for law librarians. While much of their time is spent on helping research through electronic databases and keeping practitioners on top of recent developments, law librarians also see plenty of opportunity to expand their role in the firm.

That's the message found by a new survey of law firm librarians conducted by Bloomberg Law. Those librarians feel underused and underpaid and they're ready to take a more active role in bringing in business. So, if you want to make your law librarians happy, give them more work -- and maybe a raise.

Trying to cut down on overhead and save some office space? Need some extra help but not enough to bring on a full team of support staff? You might consider contracting with a virtual paralegal.

No, virtual paralegals aren't Siri with a Westlaw account or robots who know local rules. Rather, they are freelance legal assistants who offer legal support services via the power of the Internet. Making the most of a virtual paralegal requires clearly understanding your needs and being able to capitalize on their skills. Here are 5 tips for working successfully with a virtual paralegal:

The corner office is dead, The Washington Post declared this Father's Day. What did it in? The redesign of Nixon Peabody's D.C. office, which has gone from marble and wood paneling to open and airy -- and corner office free. If even conservative Big Law firms are dropping corner offices, shouldn't everyone?

No. Open office design comes in and out of trend every few years, always claiming to offer greater democracy, communication, and transparency, only to be designed away in a few years, when people realize they actually like being able to work in private now and then. So don't ditch your corner offices just yet.

Tech companies have been criticized for their lack of diversity for years. Consider the fact that 94 percent of Facebook's technical employees are white or Asian; the median employee age at Google is allegedly 29 years old; and no large social networking company has more than 2 percent of black employees. With all the criticism tech gets, you might think it's the least diverse industry around, but you'd be wrong. That award goes to lawyers.

Facebook has reportedly taken up the Rooney Rule to help increase diversity in its workforce. That Rule, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, requires that minority candidates be interviewed for top positions. It's that simple -- and it's been credited with drastically increasing the amount of minority coaches in the NFL. Will the Rooney Rule work for Facebook? Could it work for your firm?

Lawyers running small and boutique firms often have to wear many hats, playing the role of litigator, marketer and office manager. For many, this also means being your own do-it-yourself human resources department.

Of course, no attorney has enough time to spend write out employee guidelines or flipping through new resumes all day. To keep from getting bogged down in administrative tasks, your small firm H.R. work can be made more efficient and more streamlined by focusing in on what matters. Here's seven areas to focus on when working on your human resources:

Feeling swamped with extra work, but not enough to justify hiring full time assistance? Part-time employees can be a great way to spread out your workload, whether you're hiring contract attorneys, interns, or support staff.

Part-time employees, like any new hire, require that you pay close attention to the rules and regulations governing part-time work and law practices. Here's seven tips that will help you take advantage of part-time work without the legal pitfalls: