A partner in a law firm has a lot to worry about. Business development, client relations, case management, and ensuring high quality work to mitigate the risk of malpractice leave little time for training and mentoring young associates.
Most firms have more work than they can handle, and that work can’t be done without people. It is no secret that retaining associates is one of the biggest challenges facing law firms.
But the youngest attorneys have a very different outlook about work and what they want from work. How can you manage your docket, ensure that the job gets done, guarantee that all filings are made on time, train the associates to do the kind of work you need and expect, and keep those associates happy enough to stay?
Want to learn more about how a culture of accountability can solve your workflow issues? Download our Lawyer's Ultimate Guide to Accountability:
Law school graduates are just as intelligent, capable and ambitious as ever. And they join large law firms for prestige and pay. But the millennial generation is also tech savvy, collaborative, and insistent upon a work-life balance.
A New Approach
Older attorneys and baby boomers are traditionalists. They paid their dues as associates by working crazy hours at the office, missing dinner with the family and childrens’ events on a regular basis.
Younger lawyers are not as prepared to make those sacrifices, and with the new technology, they don’t have to. While face to face office and client time is still important, technology should allow them some flexibility in when and where they get the job done.
With clear cut duties and and a string culture of accountability, this can be possible.
Accountability Drives Performance and Reduces Risk
Define Expectations and Hold Associates Accountable
- Communicate clear goals, expectations and timeframes for deliverables.
- Each attorney or staff member should know for what he or she is accountable, as well as the accountabilities of other team members.
- Transparency of accountabilites will minimize delayed hand offs in the workflow.
Trust Your Team
- Resist the temptation to micro-manage.
- Associates will thrive when given the freedom to reach clearly defined goals as they see fit.
- Make sure you have a way to know whether milestones such as filings are being met as expected and on time.
- Each attorney, paralegal, or staff member must know that he or she will be held accountable for what has been assigned to him.
Give them Feedback
- Millennials loyalty and retention are tied more to a person (mentor or partner) than to a firm.
- The partner earns loyalty by teaching, by providing growth opportunities, by setting up mutual expectations for success , and by giving feedback on a regular basis.
- Base feedback on facts and data. Has the associate met goals as expected and on time?
Use an Accountability Tool
- An accountability tool like CommandHound is a tool which has been designed from the ground up to drive accountability and to make sure things get done.
- CommandHound ensures that each member of your legal team is accountable for their specific tasks and deadlines by keeping individual scorecards of on time completion.
- These scorecards can, in turn, be used at performance review time.
Flawless Case Management Is the Key
How much risk can a law firm mitigate by simply having a flawless Case Management approach? How much additional business can a law firm generate when clients know that nothing will fall through the cracks?
Managing the life cycle of a case or matter more effectively cannot be done without holding the people in charge of getting things done accountable.
An accountability platform like CommandHound is a perfect add-on to any case management tool or methodology. CommandHound can ensure smooth case management and docket control by:
- Staying on top of things with ongoing reminders
- Driving a sense of urgency through relentless escalation processes
- Communicating progress status
- Keeping score of on time performance by team member
Don't let a people problem expose you to malpractice risk. With a heightened sense of accountability, you can maintain control of your practice and mitigate the risk associated with such a complex effort.
Would you like to learn more? Download our guide specific to lawyers that discusses the importance of accountability at law firms: