A strong legal support staff is essential to operating a successful small firm. Just like everything in life, finding the right staff members can be a challenge.
To help you find the right people for your firm, here are three essential tips to keep in mind:
Current on Technology: This sounds terrible, but you're probably going to have to pass over the paralegal who still insists on using a typewriter to write out documents. You absolutely must have legal support staff who are comfortable with the latest technology and who can learn systems fast. It's no secret that technology has changed the practice of law irrevocably. When looking for tech-savvy professionals to hire, you should be able to dodge an ADEA disparate impact lawsuit because you'll be able to show that being current on legal technology plays an essential job-related role.
Relevant Experience: This one hardly needs to be said. Unless you have huge amounts of cash to burn, you can only afford to spend much time training staff how to do basic job functions. If you're a brand new solo, it'll be a case of the blind-leading-the-blind. Do not get stuck in this position. Ideally, you should be looking only at people who have a solid work history who are ready to come in and hit the road running. You wouldn't say this, but you'll depend on them just as much as they will depend on you. If they're the kind of person who has had years' of experience and love new technology -- well, you need that person.
Strong Professionalism: This factor can be bent somewhat, particularly with increased acceptance of virtual offices and virtual assistants. Almost everything is "virtual" these days. A fair number of virtual assistants get the job done without ever showing their face to the client. Unfortunately, some clients will make judgments about your office based on the appearances of professionalism. Thus, it is an absolute must that your legal staff at least communicate in a manner that is efficient, professional, and succinct. Just make sure they get the client's information.
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