Law Firm Office Management for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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If you've decided to lease office space rather than go the virtual route, congratulations! You're well on your way to looking professional.

Before you get that office space, though, there are some things you want to think about that will make your whole experience better in the future. They might not seem important before you sign that lease, but if you don't take these things into account, they'll slowly nag at you until you wish you had.

It's the first day of spring -- unless you live on the East Coast, in which case, you might be in for continued snow storms. Still, with the technical beginning of spring comes spring cleaning.

If you're like me, you've got piles of things hanging around the office that don't need to be there anymore. Time to get rid of all that old junk!

Today is Employee Appreciation Day, and your law firm probably has at least few non-lawyer employees. Paralegals, legal assistants, and legal secretaries do a lot of the hard work at a law firm, and today is a great day to appreciate them for what they do.

But heck, why limit your appreciation to one day? Even Ebenezer Scrooge celebrated Christmas all year long. You can certainly do better than him, and you don't even have to come face to face with your own mortality first!

Here are a few simple ways to show your employee appreciation:

As if Hillary Clinton needed more trouble stemming from her time as secretary of state, The New York Times reports that she used a personal email account "exclusively" to conduct official State Department business. That's potentially problematic, thanks to federal laws requiring retention of agency emails as official records.

This raises the question: When do you use work email and when do you use personal email? And can it get you into any ethical hot water?

You may make a great first impression on your potential clients, what kind of impression does your law office make?

If your office looks like every other lawyer's office, your potential clients could be underwhelmed. Everybody has seen the diplomas on the wall, the fake potted plants, and the bookcases filled with law books that nobody ever touches.

Instead, dress your law office for success and make a great first impression with these five tips:

After a long interview process, you've just hired some new associates. Congrats! Now it's time to get to work.

As you invest hours and other resources into training your new associates, you'll want to make sure they stay long enough to provide a good return on your investment. Still, despite your best efforts, some new associates may not stick around for very long, for various reasons.

Keep an eye out for these three warning signs that your new associates may be looking to stray:

Even in Web 2.0 world, the telephone -- and its constant companion, voice mail -- are still with us. There are actually a lot of people out there who prefer the scintilla of human interaction the phone provides over the cold, lifeless specter of email. (Or the tantalizing fun of Snapchat.)

As with every office practice, voice mail has its own etiquette and best practices guide. Here some of the rules you should keep in mind for professional and efficient voice mail communications:

Big, roomy computer monitors are essential for comfortable lawyering. You spend a lot of your time at your desk, and a big monitor allows you to have multiple documents open side-by-side.

But monitors, like every other part of your desk, are governed by the iron-clad Law of Ergonomics. If your monitor is too close, or too high, or too low, you can end up with a sore neck, a sore back, or both.

Here's a quick cheat sheet for making sure you don't end up in traction at the end of the day:

Believe it or not, something as simple as missing deadlines is among the Top 10 reasons for legal malpractice claims. Remembering when something is due seems like such a simple task, but it's so simple that practitioners -- especially solos and small firms, who may not have dedicated support staff to monitor calendars -- often overlook it.

If you don't have a calendaring system, it's time to get one. If you do have one, it's time to do an audit to make sure everything is going smoothly.

Can you improve your calendaring system? Here are a few suggestions that may work for you:

Like Bruce Wayne, I have an alter ego. In my alternate life, I'm Batman a solo practitioner who works from home. Lots of solos have a separate office, but being that I'm part-time, all that office space wouldn't make sense. Other solos work from home because it's cheap and there's not much reason to rent office space.

Writing briefs in your pajamas is great, but logistical headaches flare up from time to time. Without the features of a fully equipped law office, solos who work from home have to fend for themselves when it comes to things like printing, mailing, and filing.

Here are some of the common problems we face, with some handy solutions: