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Question 1: Good policies, procedures, and systems are more important to a business than good employees.
Answer 1: True! Absolutely true! The reason I say this, is because good policies and systems and procedures can be used to communicate to your firm administration (office manager etc) to find, hire and train excellent employees. And that even the most excellent employees might not be able to be profitable or valuable to you without quality policies, procedures and systems to implement. In other words, the good policies, procedures and systems must come first, only with them can employees really maximize their effectiveness and reach their potential!
– Otis Landerholm
Question 2: The first hire any law firm owner makes should be someone to answer their phones.
Answer 2: False. While this was the case in our firm, I don’t think it is universal. There are other options besides hiring a person to answer phones… e.g. an answering service.
Question 3: All staff members should be trained to know how to perform the general duties of other staff members in case of a labor shortage.
Answer 3: False – many should be crossed trained in areas of the firm where it makes sense. (E.g. a paralegal might need to be trained in covering for a legal secretary or a receptionist from time to time… but an associate attorney should not be crossed trained with reception work – the cost vs. benefit wouldn’t make sense.
Question 4: It is never a good idea to take on any friends or family members as clients.
Answer 4: False…I won’t say never; but it is very rarely a good idea.
Question 5: Best referral sources for new business are your former clients.
Answer 5: False. This is more true for some practice areas and for some firms at a certain stages of growth (e.g. if you have a substantial base of former clients). In my firm, our best referral source for new business is actually CURRENT clients who have matters that have been pending for awhile but who have learned to love us! I imagine that this will switch to former clients at some point within the next three years – due to the fact that immigration cases take so long to complete.