Episode 3: Training & Onboarding
Fresh out of law school, great grades, full of knowledge but little practical experience? Even with the greatest academic mind, the ease with which new attorneys learn the ropes of their law firm comes down to training.
Former lawyer Christie Feyen turned her baptism of fire as a ‘newbie’ into a career in HR to help other lawyers meet their potential through access to the developmental tools she never had. Associate Attorney, Elecia Byrd, on the other side of the coin, has been subject to the Zinda Law Group onboarding culture with such triumph that she now sits on the Training and Development Committee.
Together with their vastly different experiences, they share tips and advice on how law firms can implement training programs and the importance of continued learning, even for those who are already on top of their game.
On today’s podcast:
● Introducing Director of HR, Christie Feyen and Associate Attorney, Elecia Byrd at Zinda Law Group
● Why does training matter? Why should firms focus on that?
● What does a training program contain?
● How to create an acclimation guide
● Training for the new vs the experienced
● How to create a program and instill culture
Does training matter?
“If you just throw a lawyer into the fire without any sort of training, you're setting them up for failure in a lot of ways”, explains Christie.
Going from law school straight to trial is like knowing the rules of a sport and stepping onto the pitch without ever having actually played. In other words, the theory of what you should do is no substitute for exercising the muscles out in the field.
As, unfortunately, while even the best law schools teach students how to ‘think critically and write persuasively’, the practical skills of how to take their first deposition or converse with clients are often lacking.
Law firms – it’s in your interest
So, law firms, if you want your attorneys to get out on the pitch and shoot those goals, train them.
Or, alternatively, risk reputational embarrassment of your own causing.
“When you hire a young attorney and you send them out there, they're representative of you and your law firm…and it can really kill your revenue. So, I think tip number one is have a training program”, presenter Jack Zinda prudently highlights.
What is a training program?
Director of HR, Christie, runs through the ‘robust onboarding checklist’ of the Zinda Law Group which prepares new attorneys from day one through to the training and development which they can expect to receive. And this includes the all-important ‘acclamation guide’.
“It contains all of the training modules that the attorney is going to be completing…from the admin topics of how to use your computer here at the firm, all the way to how to write a demand, how to prepare discovery, or how to take a deposition”, Christie explains.
And the proof is in the pudding.
Associate Attorney, Elecia, trumpets how the training helped her with basic things like putting faces to names, understanding where things were around the office, as well as more advanced learning objectives like the office culture.
Start with the basics, live in the shoes of your trainees, ask for feedback and go from there. The message is clear, investing in your new, and experienced, attorneys means clients won’t hesitate to invest in you.
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.