Working at a law firm can be exciting and challenging. It provides an opportunity to work in a corporate culture with executives from client companies and handle tremendous responsibility at a young age.
However, it also requires big time commitments from lawyers and their support staff. Often, the work is spread too thin, leading to inconsistent performance and tasks falling through the cracks.
Whether you’re an attorney or a support staff member, the client is your law firm’s most valuable asset. It’s critical that you make an effort to build a positive relationship with each client. Not only is this good for business, but it also opens the door to a steady stream of attorney referrals.
One way to do this is by establishing your own list of contacts and building relationships with each individual person on the list. This can be done by participating in events and forums that target potential clients. Another is to hire outside services, such as a public relations specialist or a social media manager, to help you grow your client list.
Building a good rapport with each client starts with being empathetic and getting to know them. This may mean asking questions about their background and interests to get a better understanding of who they are as people. It’s also important to keep communications open throughout the case. If something happens that isn’t in the client’s favor, you should communicate that honestly to prevent any unnecessary frustration.
Client management can be a time-consuming task for law firms, which is why having streamlined processes and systems in place helps. For example, creating a process for responding to client inquiries makes the job easier and ensures that every question gets answered in a timely manner.
Managing legal cases can be a challenging endeavor. Whether they’re large-scale litigation or small, individual claims, lawyers and paralegals must effectively collaborate across departments to track documents, deadlines, statements and other case details. This requires a system that allows them to organise case files quickly, easily and securely.
Case management is particularly important for law firms that handle a high volume of lawsuits, class action and mass tort cases. These types of cases can generate thousands of physical and electronic documents that require collaboration to manage. Using case management software helps ensure that all attorneys have access to the most current, accurate information to support their clients.
Larger law firms may offer greater benefits like onsite research libraries, copy and mail centers to support employees. They also typically have a more consistent work load than a solo or freelance practice. This allows staff to focus on honing their skills and developing strong client relationships rather than having to find work on their own.
In addition, larger firms may provide strategic training processes that connect junior-level associates to senior partners for mentorship opportunities and career advancement. However, the more responsibility that a lawyer takes on at a firm, the more likely it is that they will have to put in long hours and often perform administrative tasks outside of legal work.
Legal research involves finding legal documents that help solve a legal problem. These can include statutes, case law, legal articles and treatises, and government reports. Legal professionals must be able to find the right legal document for each situation. They also need to be able to determine the validity and reliability of their information sources. They use their research skills in other areas, too, such as conducting interviews with witnesses or clients.
A big law firm is a top career choice for many recent graduates. These firms have a defined hierarchy and offer the opportunity to work on high-profile cases with senior officers of client companies. They usually offer salaries and benefits as well as opportunities to become equity partners if they perform well enough.
Small law firms can be more relaxed than a big firm. They often have a close-knit collaboration and allow employees to explore legal topics more widely than in a large law firm. They may have less resources, however, and limited revenue can mean slower growth for lawyers. Smokeball offers legal case management software that helps keep entire law firms organized by collecting details during client intake, saving them to the correct case matter and auto-populating forms with accurate information. It also allows attorneys to easily communicate with their clients, request more details when necessary and share their research results.
Law firms are businesses, and to maintain profitability and growth, administrative work must be delegated. A legal administrator handles many of the business matters that a firm needs to keep running smoothly, such as human resources, accounting and budgeting. They also handle office management tasks, such as ordering supplies and maintaining the office.
Because of this broad range of responsibilities, it’s important for legal administrators to be well organized and detail-oriented. They also need to have excellent computer skills to manage legal documents and conduct research. Legal administrators can further improve their computer proficiency by using a legal-centric document management system (DMS), which can help them organize files and procedures more efficiently and save them time searching for specific documents or information.
In addition to their administrative duties, law firm administrators may also be required to meet with clients and attend court proceedings. As such, it’s important for them to have strong interpersonal communication skills and be able to work under tight deadlines.
Some law firm administrators choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration, which provides them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. They may also participate in internship programs to gain hands-on experience in the field. Moreover, some law firm administrators join professional organizations to learn more about the profession and expand their networks.