Attorneys often tell me about how great their employees are and how long they’ve been with their firm. In my experience, this can be both good news and bad news.
The Good News
It’s always good to have excellent employees. They do good work, they’re a pleasure to be around, and they tend to increase your bottom line. It’s every boss’s dream, and every boss wishes for an office full of excellent employees.
The Bad News
But here’s the problem with excellent employees: if you’re dependent on a person to run your business, you’re vulnerable. Great employees get sick. They move away. They make lifestyle changes. All these things can result in job changes that leave bosses in a bind, so your firm is what we call “people dependent.”
Happily, you can have great employees without making your firm’s success dependent on those employees’ life choices. You do this by making your business dependent on systems rather than on people.
You accomplish this by establishing a firm-wide organizational chart, which Sandy discussed in one of his recent blogs. You also implement what we call position contracts for each function within your law firm. A position contract is a detailed description of what each person does in the firm. This is an ongoing, updated process so that if one of your employees leaves, there’s a system to follow.
Even with an organizational chart and position contracts in place, hiring excellent employees is still top priority. However, when your law firm is systems-dependent rather than people-dependent, there’s order and predictability, even when you lose a great employee.
President and Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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