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2. Managing Your Firm

The days when lawyers joined a firm and stayed until retirement are long past. Now lawyers come and go. Some departures are by design. Others are unexpected. Some are amicable. Others stem from bitter firm breakups. Regardless of the circumstances, avoid ethical and malpractice woes by (a) having an exit procedure, (b) making the transition as painless as possible for everyone, and (c) putting clients’ interests first.
Practicing law is an art. Running a law firm is a business. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, when properly combined they add up to a stellar practice. Business basics come first. This means laying a groundwork of best practices so that your lawyer artistry can flourish.
Attracting top talent to your firm is only half the battle – and often the easier half. The tougher part is turning that raw potential into skilled and loyal revenue producers.
It takes teamwork to run a law office. This starts with your support staff. They’re the ground troops who deal with clients daily and do the little things that keep the firm going. They’re also your last line of defense against malpractice. Develop a stellar staff through: (a) good training, (b) good support, and (c) good management.
Lawyers are independent by nature and training. They thrive on the freedom of private practice. But managing them can be a challenge. Lawyers in firm leadership positions have an ethical duty to supervise their associates. If misconduct occurs, they can face bar discipline. If a mistake is made, the entire firm – not just the errant lawyer – may be on the hook for malpractice. The solution: implement systems to ensure top-quality client representation – then follow the procedures rigorously.
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