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3 Warning Signs Your New Associates May Not Stick Around

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on February 26, 2015 5:53 AM

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:

1. Their Effort and Work Product Are Lackluster.

When you interviewed them, they had great credentials -- top law school, high grades, wonderful recommendations -- but their work product is uninspired and lusterless. Could it be that your new associates have no idea what to do, and that you didn't provide enough training? (Did you think young attorneys learned all they needed to know in law school?)

Invest the time and effort into training your new associates. They'll be better able to provide you with quality work and won't be wasting your time floundering around looking for sample motions to quash online to copy. The more they learn from you, the less likely they'll look to another law firm to facilitate their career development.

2. They Have a Bad Attitude.

Are your new associates always grumbling about their new workloads, or how they don't like family law and would rather do criminal defense? Maybe they just don't want to be here -- and maybe you don't want to invest too much time in them. However, keep in mind that low morale is often the reason for a bad attitude. Praise for good work and assigning more work that utilizes the new associates' strengths can often strengthen morale and be the cure for a bad attitude.

3. They Bill Too Much (or Too Little) Time.

If your new associates aren't billing enough, maybe they're just not into the job. On the other hand, if they're billing way too many hours, there's a risk they could quickly burn out. With the advent of emails and cell phones, new associates are often at the beck and call of partners and clients long after they've left the office.

A report from the New York State Bar Association states,"Work settings which do not address stressors of the modern practice of law will continue to produce a significant number of lawyers who are depressed, dissatisfied with the quality of their lives, spend too little time with their families and communities, continue to be isolated and show increased levels of depression and addictive behaviors."

Managing your new associates' workloads to balance maximizing billable hours with fatigue level will keep your associates happier and more likely to stay.

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