Associate Special by Jan Lentz: Larry Rice CLE on Law Practice Management

undefinedVersatility. It’s one of the more useful traits to have when you’re trying to successfully manage a law practice.
Larry Rice effectively demonstrated this trait yesterday when the speaker for our monthly in-house lecture series had to cancel on short notice.

In yesterday’s seminar, Mr. Rice gave an overview of law practice management, including the ethical implications of mismanagement.
Mr. Rice stressed that law practice management, to be effective, must be something that happens all day, every day.
The practice of law is fun, and practicing law can be very profitable, but a law firm’s staff have to remain continuously focused on doing things the right way, every time.

Among other things, Mr. Rice discussed the importance of camaraderie among co-workers, and how giving periodic bonuses to employees for a job well done not only makes them happy, but makes them focused on, and take pride in, doing the job correctly. On a related note, Mr. Rice explained that it’s important to keep clients in the loop with what’s going on in their case, not only to make the clients happy, but also to comply with professional ethics rules. An effective way to do this is to forward to clients a digital copy of all documents coming into, and going out of, the firm on their case, via a secure email address.

Having a system in place for how situations are to be handled, which includes forms, policies, and procedures, reminds everyone in the firm what their job is, and provides a measuring stick for job performance. By letting employees know on the front end what their limitations are, especially with maintaining client confidentiality, the law partner or associate can prevent ethical problems for the entire firm down the road.

A final thought from Mr. Rice on how to handle employees that don’t do their job and make you miserable:
Fire them.

On that note, I’d better get back to work.

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