Episode 30 – Hiring an associate. When and How?

This week Oscar and Scott discuss how solo and small practices can decide on when its time to bring on a new associate. Hiring another lawyer is a big commitment and not just because of the additional salary. It means you have to evaluate your space, your malpractice coverage and your time.

There are some steps you can take before hiring a lawyer to make sure you are ready:

  • Will a non-lawyer addition help? Can you start by just adding a part-time paralegal or secretary to help with some of the administrative or lower level tasks that are taking up your time?
  • Is the current workload something that will be a steady presence or is just a temporary influx of business that can be alleviated by farming some of the work out?
  • Would my workload be eased by hiring per diem or project lawyers as independent contractors to help me with the work
  • Maybe even writing to a law school for some part-pay part intern basis

These steps will allow you to see if you are truly ready to hire a new associate and will let you operate on a “test-run” basis. Remember the goal of bringing on staff is to free up your time from tasks that are not profitable and to allow you grow your business. With that in mind, small firms and solos should also look for candidates that can understand the basics of the legal business and look for ways to develop their own business. Bringing on new staff especially a new lawyer is a huge commitment and it should always be done with an eye towards helping your business grow.