The Effective Lawyer Episode 15: How To Manage Lawyers

The Effective Lawyer Episode 15: How To Manage Lawyers

 

The Effective Lawyer Episode 15: How To Manage Lawyers

Summary

The Zinda Law Group team discusses one of the biggest challenges that attorneys face as their practice starts to grow: how do you manage a team of lawyers working with you? Sharing their thoughts and experience with Zinda Law Group founder, Jack Zinda, about some of the challenges and tactics they use to help manage the team are Christie Feyen & Cassandra Pillonel.

Discussed in this episode:

  • From lawyer to manager
  • Challenges of managing lawyers 
  • Onboarding a new associate 
  • Hiring for culture fit
  • How to manage a new attorney
  •  
 
 

Challenges of managing lawyers 

Zinda has established a training and development team to mentor and train new attorneys. They’re constantly refining their practices when it comes to training new lawyers, straight from law school, as well as existing lawyers. 

“We tell everybody joining that we have a very robust training program, and we do, but it is what helps sets us apart,” says Jack.

The skill of management

Even if you have a small practice, being able to effectively manage your small team can lead to great results. That’s the objective of a great manager, to get the best outcome from your team. 

“One of the biggest challenges,” says Cassandra, “is that you have to create an environment for the attorneys where they can learn, and what is inherent in the learning process is making mistakes.”

Balance allowing young attorneys to make mistakes they can learn from without it leading to malpractice or a grievance issue. 

“Time is the biggest challenge,”adds Christie, “because our lawyers are so busy, finding the time for career development [is tough].”

Onboarding a new associate 

“The onboarding process is crucial when it comes to getting new associates into the firm. They have to know that it's going to be a journey. And there's going to be times where there needs to be training and feedback,” says Cassandra. 

Build rapport with new recruits, get to know them, have fun, you want them to like you, you want them to feel invested and welcome at your firm. Once they’re comfortable, then you can begin training and development. 

“You can't have someone come in cold, hardly get to know them, and then start shouting feedback at them, that’s not going to be well received,” adds Christie.

Hiring for culture fit

You can really like someone, but that doesn’t mean they're a good cultural fit for your firm. Keep in mind a bad cultural fit can be detrimental to an existing culture. 

Every organization’s culture is different. Define yours first, and then figure out your core principles and purpose, and include those in your job postings. 

“If someone's not fitting in, it affects their work, and it might affect the team's work. If someone has a particular style that doesn't quite jive with our processes or procedures, it's not setting them up for success. It's not setting our clients up for success.”

Establishing if someone’s a good fit

“Focus on what people do, not what people say,” says Jack. “Superstars who perform at really high levels are not always the ones patting themselves on the back. And people that are not a good fit may be the ones that are trying to convince you that they're a good fit.” 

Create a list of what you expect from a new attorney in their first 90 days and then review their work against it to see if they’re measuring up to what they talked about in the interview. 

How to manage a new attorney

“Listen more than you speak and admit your mistakes,” says Cassandra. 

“Don't be afraid to give feedback when it's warranted or when it's needed, because it doesn't help you to not correct someone,” says Christie, “they're not going to grow from that and you don't grow as a manager.”

On today’s podcast:

  • From lawyer to manager
  • Challenges of managing lawyers 
  • Onboarding a new associate 
  • Hiring for culture fit
  • How to manage a new attorney

Links:

ABOUT THE EFFECTIVE LAWYER

The Effective Lawyer teaches ambitious trial lawyers how to grow their skills and create a prosperous law firm. Using lessons learned by accomplished attorneys from around the country, we discuss lessons learned through their trials and tribulations. Our discussions cover a vast range of topics sought out by attorneys looking for advice, from depositions to how to market your law firm. In each show we cover a new topic that an ambitious attorney would want to better understand, while providing practical skills to improve their legal practice.

The show is hosted by Jack Zinda, Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Zinda Law Group. In less than 15 years, Jack and his team have grown Zinda Law Group from 3 attorneys to over 30, spanning several states and handling a variety of personal injury cases from gas explosions to truck accidents.

 

 

Get Your Free Consultation






    El Paso West Office:

    7362 Remcon Circle
    El Paso, TX 79912

    Phone: (915) 990-2424