Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Non-lawyer assistants are critical to a family law practice: whether secretaries, document managers, investigators, or bookkeepers, attorneys who structure their practice to include extensive use of these non-lawyer assistants must remember three basic rules: keep control; set clear policies; and educate both your assistants and your clients about limits. Finally, train the assistant and revisit that training regularly. Having these policies and asking assistants to read them is not adequate training. Regular training is necessary to maintain competence. This training should be grounded in the discrete problems that arise in your office. A medical model of “grand rounds” would be an effective training mechanism for insuring that policies are understood and kept current. With the demands of efficiency required of today’s attorney, proper use of non-lawyer assistants is, for most attorneys, a necessity of practice. With proper attention to supervision, clear policies, and regular training, these assistants can make an attorney’s practice more efficient and of a higher quality overall.