Many solo and small firm lawyers notoriously play it fast-and-loose, and it's not always a bad thing.
They can be more mobile, flexible, and adaptable to changing circumstances. Moving an office, for example, can be as easy as picking up a laptop.
But sometimes it pays to slow down and follow the large firm path, like creating employee manuals. Even if you have no employees, it's a good thing to act like you do. Here are three good reasons:
No. 1. It's a Growth Opportunity
Do you really never want to have employees? How about when you get tired of answering the phone, doing all the clerical work, and taking out the trash?
Of course, many solos and other entrepreneurs have leveraged contract workers to support small-time practices. It makes sense for all kinds of reasons, but taxes are not important right now. We're talking about the privilege of growing a full-service law firm with secretaries, paralegals, and janitors. Who doesn't want that?
No. 2. It's a Contractor Liability
Sure contractors can do a lot for you, but they are people, too. Just because somebody works on a contractor basis or part-time doesn't mean you can ignore workplace regulations. Do you know how many government agencies have different regulations for deciding who is a contract worker and who is an employee? Exactly.
The California Supreme Court knows. Uber doesn't. That's why the company has been sued so many times by its "contractors."
No. 3. It's a Billable Event
You can't exactly bill clients for work that you do for your own firm. Everybody knows that, right? If not, don't tell them how to do it. Seriously, after you write that employee manual you can't bill clients for that time. But you can copyright it, and save it for another saleable day. If making money is not a good reason to create a employee manual, why are you practicing law? In the meantime, here's a free resource about how to write one.