Nobody tells you how to build a team when you start your law practice. You kinda have to make it up as you go. So, today I’m sharing the 3 C’s that make it possible for you to develop a smart, trustworthy team who makes you money and frees up your time.
But first, why do you need a team around you as a lawyer?
Why your law firm needs a team
Lawyering is a fast-paced, unpredictable and stressful job. I don’t have to tell you how demanding it is. You know. Your focus is splintered between what’s happening now, what you need to guard against and what you need to plan for to serve your clients well.
Since you went to law school, I know you can handle the pressure and pace of doing all the things in your law practice, but honestly, why should you?
You’re not saving actually saving money doing things DIY style. It costs you more to learn to do the project then to delegate it. Growing your staff helps you to be more efficient which prevents burnout and allows you to be a better value to clients.
You’re not saving time. That 5 minutes you proclaim the task is gonna take you to do quickly stretches to 20 plus minutes when you factor context switching. What’s that? It’s the time your brain requires to switch from one focus to another and then back to the first. Studies show that context switching wastes about 2 hours a day!
You’re not doing a great job. Sorry to say that, but you went to school for law. Unless your undergraduate degree was in marketing, sales or accounting, you don’t have superior knowledge. There’s a professional who can do the job better, faster and cheaper than you.
You’re losing money. Far too many lawyers see having a team as an expense when your team can be a profit center. Yup, your team helps you earn more money. Let me give you a live example.
The Attorney at Work Social Media survey revealed that 82% of solo lawyers do their own social media, spending up to 5 hours a week. Sounds very frugal until you realize those are billable hours. At $250 an hour that’s $1250 a week going down the drain. Ouch. A social media manager will be a much more skillful, consistent job and for around $1500 a month- curation, production, and promotion. (want help with finding someone, give me a holla) Free up those 4 hours and you can bill more!
One of my mastermind members discovered the joy of having a team when she was able to bill out her new hire and make $2k. Think she’s adding more team? You bet. You expand your capacity for growth when you expand your team.
How do you build an amazing team?
There are two sides to the coin when building a smart, trustworthy team. They are hiring and onboarding. There are plenty of resources for hiring so I won’t address that except to say use your Law Firm Legend as a basis for creating your hiring criteria. You want the new hire to fit into your law firm culture.
Onboarding is the ongoing process that assists your new hire to integrate into your firm, learn their job and become part of your community. Assuming you made the right hiring decisions, your onboarding program maximizes the value of your new hire. Studies show that when new hires have a great onboarding experience they are 69% more likely to stay and time to performance is 25% faster. You gotta love that your teammate can bill faster.
Your orientation plan and onboarding program should be built on three concepts: connection, context and clarity to make reliable team.
Connect with your new hire on a personal level. Humans are hard-wired for connection. We need to belong, be seen and acknowledged by those around us. Connecting builds trust and makes it easier for your new person to be motivated and engaged. We all work harder for people we know, like and trust, right?
Context enables your new hire to learn and focus on their role. Have you ever had a job where you were told to do something but really had no idea why? You were missing the context. Adults need to understand their role, its importance and how their contribution fits into the overall success of your law firm. We all want to be useful.
Clarity provides your new hire with the confidence to do a great job. Being at a new job is a little like the first day of middle school. A lot of excitement, you know you’re supposed to be there but really don’t know how to act(remember that?). Your new hire knows how to do the job, but you have to be clear about how you want them to do it for you. We all need direction.
The recipe for greatness
There ya have it. Connection, context and clarity are 3 ingredients in the recipe to make a reliable team that takes initiative. The secret is to get the right portions and that really depends on who your new hire is in the world. You can prepare by thinking about what your law firm culture is, how does the role fit into your overall growth plans and how to you simplify things.
Want some help? You’re welcome to take the first step to reveal your firm culture at Build your Trustworthy Team FREE Masterclass