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Leadership for Lawyers- My 60/80 Rule for Growth and Staffing

Leadership for Lawyers- My 60/80 Rule for Growth and Staffing

Whether you are growing beyond solo practice to creating a firm, a partner growing your team, or a managing partner growing your firm, this simple formula can help you navigate the way forward with respect to growth and staffing.

It’s far too common for lawyers to wait until they are at maximum capacity and beyond to bring in help. Managing growth is a good problem to have, however, it does pose new challenges.

So here it is. When you are at about 60% capacity, start looking to recruit. That gives you the luxury of time to find the right people. You can be selective and not panic. You can take your time to find the right people and fit. And, that way, by the time you are at 80% capacity, you will still have time to groom, mentor, train, and get your people up to speed before you hit your wall.

If you wait until later, you may, as is often the case, find yourself in a never-ending cycle of chicken and egg. Where is the time to train? Who do you bring on? “Oh, I might as well just do it myself-even though that means long nights and weekends.” Think forward. don’t get caught thinking I can’t afford to bring someone in right now. Can you afford not to?

Sure, there are many other factors here: Letting go of the reigns, quality control, consistency, profitability. But they are all better managed when you are proactive and plan ahead. Think forward!

When staffing don’t settle

When staffing don’t settle

Recently I’ve been working with two very different clients that have exactly the same challenges-incompetent staff. One is a partner at a national firm, and the other is a small firm owner. If you follow my writing you will note that I have been a very vocal advocate for lawyers and staff in that I believe in giving them everything they need to succeed in the way of development and support.

This however is one of those times where I am clearly on the side of ownership/management.

Their perspective is limited while mine is broad working with lawyers, paralegals and mgt across Canada. And from my perspective there are some pretty talented and amazing people out there. So there is no good reason to settle for incompetence whatsoever!

When they don’t show up, show up late, or constantly produce inadequate work? When they constantly complain. When they… Time to let them go. Don’t settle for less than excellent. Your clients won’t.

In addition to performing poorly, these people will drag the rest of your team down to their level. When you settle with the bar so low, other people will follow. Be firm. Be clear on expectations. Give them support and encouragement. But sometimes it doesn’t work out and you need to let them go. Don’t worry-there are great people out there who would love to work for a great boss like you!

My Latest Column on The Lawyers Daily -Your People, cost or investment?

My Latest Column on The Lawyers Daily -Your People, cost or investment?

Many of my clients struggle with this question when taking a look at ways to grow their practice or firm. Whether you are in solo practice or heading a large international firm, my answer remains the same. Here is how I help them determine the difference.

A “cost” is something that does not directly impact your growth or generate higher revenues. Your office space is a cost. Paper clips, paper, photocopiers, desks, chairs, rent and so on, are all costs. They are the costs of doing business. You need them to run your firm or practice. That money going out does not come back. While they are essential, they don’t directly impact your ability to grow, increase revenues or profits and therefore are “costs.”

Read more here.

Change- It’s all about habits

Change- It’s all about habits

Change is all about habits. Discarding old habits that don’t serve you and establishing new habits that do. You do this by making your best effort to put attention to practicing them everyday. When you do this, overtime they will become second nature. It might surprise you how quickly this can happen.

Prioritize: Whether it be forming new habits in your personal life or in business, it starts with one step at a time. Start with your top priority. What would you like to change first? Focus on that and when you are fairly comfortable and confident with this new habit, look at the next priority you would like to focus on.

Patience: Don’t be so hard on yourself. One step at a time. New behaviors take time to cement. But the more you practice the better you will get. It’s just like anything really. Once you understand this and have some success, any additional habits you’d like to change will come much easier and faster.

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

– Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of The United States