Making it easier to grow your law firm

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This section covers succession, specialisation, mergers, selling a law firm, becoming a partner, and business structure

How to set up your firm’s systems to provide the information that enables you to improve profitability and cashflow

How to avoid professional negligence claims, with examples of common problems and suggested solutions. Plus FAQs on PII

This is a new section and only covers SRA Accounts Rules and GDPR at the moment. More articles will follow

How to protect your law firm from cyber attacks. What steps to take if your systems are hacked

How to recruit and retain a team that is both happy and highly effective, dealing with the HR issues along the way

In marketing, like anything, you need to get the basics right. Otherwise the time and money you invest in marketing will be wasted

How to win new clients, make the most of existing relationships, encourage referrals and generate new leads

How to approach creating a law firm website that works, from agreeing your objectives to making sure you get the results you want

Why lawyers need to know about social media, how to make the most of the opportunities and how to avoid potential pitfalls

How to use PR to build your firm’s reputation; and how to create cost-effective advertising – traditional and online – that delivers results

Communicating with your team - checklist

Catherine Gasparini

Good communication is key if you want to help lawyers and support staff feel fulfilled and do the best job possible. But busy lawyers, focused on progressing matters or developing client relationships, can overlook the need to make this a priority. Read this list of points to consider from consultant Catherine Gasperini.​ (8 July 2020)

 

  • Make sure everyone has the information they need (eg policies and technical information) or are legally entitled to (eg for health and safety or employment law).
  • Understand your role – not just within your practice area, but with other teams. Think about when you can share opportunities or advice, and what you want from them.
  • Use communication to help employees perform – by agreeing clear objectives, providing feedback and recognising achievements.
  • Communicate regularly to build your relationship with individuals and teams. Take a personal interest in them, and take part in social events.
  • Aim for open, honest two-way communication. Make yourself available, encourage employees to raise problems and suggestions, and listen.
  • Plan communications: think about your objectives and break down your message into a small number of key points.
  • Anticipate your audience’s attitude, current knowledge and level of interest. Choose a time when they are likely to be receptive.
  • Give advance warning when appropriate – for example, if an employee will need to prepare; circulate an agenda before group meetings.
  • Choose the right medium – for example, the phone for a quick discussion, email or memos for complex information or where you need a written record, an instant message (such as text message) for brief instructions, and information or your intranet for firm-wide information such as policies and news.
  • Consider team meetings that include both lawyer and non-lawyer staff. This can help a sense of team effort and makes sure everyone is kept well informed.
  • Follow up written communications, particularly if they cover complex issues; don’t assume signs and memos will be read and understood.
  • Handle sensitive communications face-to-face.
  • Use clear, appropriate language; be specific about action points, deadlines and responsibilities.
  • Build trust: be positive, patient and polite; explain yourself, particularly when overriding an employee’s suggestion; and do what you say you will.
  • Control discussions: stick to the agenda, and keep things brief.
  • Confirm understanding and agreement; review outcomes to see whether communications have been effective.
  • Practise communication skills: asking open-ended questions, listening and ensuring you understand; using positive body language.

Nicola Jones

"Make sure communication is two-way; ask open questions and listen to the answers. Investing time in comms in the short-term often nips misunderstandings in the bud, saving head-aches and heart-aches down the line." Nicola Jones, Athena Professional

Martyn Best

"A culture of open communication and collaboration helps create the responsive and dynamic firm that today’s clients demand." Martyn Best, Document Direct


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