Even though law firms are all about risk management and protecting their clients’ rights, no one, including managing partners of law firms, can plan for a pandemic.
While everyone hoped COVID-19 would no longer be such a threat to health and public safety and everything would return to normal, many law firms, including managing partners, work from home because of a new wave of rising case numbers.
While working from home in itself may not seem like a serious change for a law firm’s managing partner, the managing partner isn’t just another attorney within the firm.
What Is a Managing Partner?
A managing partner is a lawyer who’s responsible for managing the daily activities of the law firm. They’re the person responsible for the business operations of the law firm. Depending on the size and structure of the law firm and how many partners are within the firm, they may be voted into the role for a certain amount of time. At the end of that period, they retain partner status but are no longer the managing partner.
In other law firms, the partners may decide among themselves who’s better suited and has the most business acumen to handle that side of the practice.
Additionally, they may still take on client work as well. Working from home can very much change how a managing partner operates in their day-to-day activities. It’s crucial that strategic planning for the law firm for the short term and possibly review the overall law firm business plan for potential long-term changes takes place to address law firm management.
Work From Home Tips for Managing Partners of Law Firms
There are several excellent articles on how to manage remote workers, how remote workers can improve their productivity, how remote workers can work from home and manage their family life, and how remote workers should be careful to avoid burnout.
There is a distinct lack of information related to the role of managing partner and working from home.
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you need expert, custom advice for your law firm, schedule free your consultation with RJH by clicking here.
Understand that productivity for employees and yourself will look different now. While the entire nation has dealt with COVID-19 for a while, productivity still looks different for each person. You and your employees are no longer working in a traditional environment. Maybe certain things get done faster, and perhaps some take longer.
With schools, grocery stores, and even courts not operating at full capacity (if at all), certain factors are unavoidable for many. As the managing partner, it’s imperative to readjust the concept of time management while, at the same time, certainly embracing the concepts involved in managing remote workers who report to you.
Review your vendor contracts and adjust them accordingly, if possible. With most or all of your law firm working from home, maybe you’ve gone paperless or need considerably less paper than your current vendor contract. If your office no longer has in-person consultations or client visits, you may need to review your coffee, tea, and water delivery.
Some law firms have no plans to go back to business as usual and plan to continue working from home. Determine whether your vendor contracts can be renegotiated or canceled, depending on your current needs. Talk with the other partners regularly to determine whether working from home is only temporary or if it’s a viable long-term solution for the entire firm.
Ensure that your law firm has all of the appropriate legal technology in place and that everyone is appropriately trained to use it. Many law firms learned overnight that legal technology is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Legal technology doesn’t just mean client management systems (CMS) or law practice management software such as FileVine, Clio, and Smokeball. It includes any technological solution your law firm employees would use to work on behalf of the firm. Examples include QuickBooks, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Office 365, DocuSign, contract repository software, Slack, Trello, Asana, etc.
We’re sure you know about some of the recent scares involving Zoom. Some of the very early ones, involving Zoom Pirates who were logging into meetings and “taking over,” could have been prevented if those using the platform had gone through some fundamental steps. For example, enabling the waiting room feature, registration, or adding a password, features that have existed for a long time. People just weren’t taught how to use them. To ensure data is protected, your employees should be thoroughly trained on how to use every piece of legal tech relied on for firm use.
Stay in contact with your employees. While you certainly don’t need to micromanage anyone, COVID-19 has shown everyone how important it is to stay connected. Use Zoom or another teleconferencing option to schedule “face to face” time together. It doesn’t always have to be business-related. You can all still occasionally eat lunch together.
If you know your employees well and have their correct addresses, send them each a pizza. If you’re not sure about their addresses or worry about allergies, use their email addresses and send each of them an UberEats gift card or another local food establishment gift card to buy themselves lunch. This helps keep your employees motivated, productive, and loyal to the firm. Ensure they know your “door” is open to feedback and questions. The physical distance may make it harder for some employees to feel comfortable reaching out.
Strategic Planning for Law Firms
With more than sixty years of experience, RJH Consulting assists law firms with strategic planning. Whether your law firm plans to return to the office or continue working from home, we can help you determine which law firm strategies are best to grow and maintain your business.
Initial consultations are free! To learn more about how RJH Consulting can help your law firm better leverage its position within the market, schedule your free consultation right now!