If you want something done right…
“Showing them will take too long – I’ll just do it myself.”
If you’ve ever thought or said something similar, you’re not alone. As an attorney, you know how every piece of the puzzle works and how they all fit together. Being the expert, it often feels like you are the only person qualified to make every single decision, from the trivial to the critical. But, when your case load is so overwhelming that it’s too much for one person to handle, what can you do?
Little things can take up a huge part of your day, so having someone else take care of them is a great solution. After all, paralegals and support staff are there to help you, and assistants are meant to do just that – assist. All you need to do is hire someone qualified, with experience in your practice area, and all your problems will be solved. Right?
Odds are, you rely on a smartphone – and probably a few other gadgets – on a daily basis. But no device arrives from the manufacturer pre-programmed.
For your phone to be more than just an expensive and professional-looking gadget, you have to put some effort into teaching it what you need it to do for you. Downloading your favorite apps and adjusting the settings to align with your preferences can take up quite a bit of time, but even the most high-end smartphone will be useless until you program it. Investing that initial effort pays off in the long run, because having these tools at your disposal is a big time saver. And as smartphones are not free, taking the time to set them up is the best way to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Program Your Paralegal
Just like your smartphone, the most experienced assistant in the world won’t be able to help you manage your case load or your clients until they get to know how you work. If, for example, you tell your new paralegal to file something with the court, she might take that to mean that she should get in her car and take the pleading to the clerk personally. Or, perhaps he’ll assume you want him to use a courier service when, in fact, you did want him to walk two blocks in order to file the motion in person. Just like your smartphone, your staff won’t automatically know your preferred way of doing things. A new hire won’t arrive pre-programmed with settings tailored to your needs, but a good employee will be adaptable. And, once your staff is fully set up, they can do amazing things.
“Update Available – Install Now?”
We’ve all delayed installing new software, or updating existing apps. No one likes having to download the update, wait for the phone to install it, and then wait even longer while the device restarts. But, until the update is installed, your software won’t be up to date, and you won’t be benefiting from peak performance.
As an attorney, you are required to continue your education and keep your knowledge current so that you can better serve your clients. Likewise, paralegals will better serve both you and your clients if their knowledge, skills, and resources are regularly updated to keep up with our fast-paced and ever-changing world. Laws are slower to evolve, but every day brings new tools for managing cases and communicating with clients. While installing updates may seem like a waste of time, allowing your assistants time to explore these resources and educate themselves on new and more efficient ways of doing the same old things will ultimately save time as they’ll be able to work more efficiently.
“Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again?”
Your apps unexpectedly glitch; there’s a delay for every command on your smartphone…time to recharge and restart the device. Even the latest model can eventually become overloaded. If you want to be able to rely on your smartphone in the long term, you have to switch it off and restart it from time to time.
The law is a very demanding vocation, and clients never take a day off from caring about the outcome of their cases. But even the best paralegals won’t be able to serve you or your clients if they are never allowed to recharge and restart. Reviewing pleadings and completing judicial council forms requires extreme attention to detail, so you don’t want to risk anything getting missed. There will never be an ideal time to do without your assistants, but giving them a bit of time to regroup will ensure they are operating at their best.
What Does Any of This Have to Do with Marketing?
Getting the word out about your firm and about what you can do for people is a very important part of growing your business and reputation. A successful marketing campaign will get people’s attention and create enough interest that potential clients will look into hiring you. But once that new client sets foot in your office, the ball is in your court. Ensuring your staff is informed and fully equipped to handle anything your clients might throw at them will mean better overall results, which will then translate into positive reviews and referrals. If you help your paralegal help you and your clients, you will ultimately be helping your business prosper, flourish, and grow.