Managing A Family Law Office

When it comes to running your own legal firm, it makes sense to learn from other operations that have reached some level of success. There’s a lot you can learn from a Redwood City family attorney. Consider this reality: law school isn’t as much about running a business as it is about teaching attorneys how to navigate the law.

Certainly, what legislation applies to a business’s operation will be explored. Those in a legal practice know what they can get away with better than almost any other similarly-sized business operation. However, even operations running at peak efficiency could stand to learn a few things from the long-term success of established legal practices.

For one thing, even though the services of a legal operation aren’t necessarily rooted in any location, there is something to be said for finding the right real estate for your firm. The more centrally located you are, the more people will attribute professionalism to your firm as a consequence.

Internal Infrastructure Considerations

Something else to consider is internal infrastructure. Cloud computing is changing a lot about the day-to-day of a legal firm. There are thousands of documents which get generated in legal practices for varying reasons. Such documents used to be kept in storage areas where they could be referenced as needed in future cases.

The thing is, such storage spaces end up taking up a lot of space. That space isn’t free. The time spent rooting around among physical files and transporting them as necessary is likewise something that can take time. Many legal firms are outsourcing space and physical storage to the cloud, only printing documents off when absolutely necessary.

A private cloud option keeps all such data secure, and there are monitoring solutions for applications managing data on the cloud as well, should your firm be so high profile. Time saved in file management, space saved in storage, and the security of data which comes through private cloud options all recommend such a pivot.

Is Decentralization Right?

Another technological pivot may involve decentralization. With cloud computing, it becomes possible for those bearing proper access credentials on a trusted internet connection to access necessary files wherever they happen to be. Sometimes such access can be crucial during a case. Imagine needing a file and being able to get it on your tablet during a court proceeding.

Provided the particular case being argued, and the court in which it is being contended, don’t disagree with such methods, this could be the straw that wins the camel’s case, as it were. But if you’re going to manage anything in your practice remotely, you’ll probably want to incorporate things like Clockspot into operational infrastructure.

This is a timekeeping app which also provides varying data management templates. You can log hours of attorneys working on cases this way, and you can additionally manage things like payroll with the click of a mouse.

Working with Other Firms, and Learning the Game

Another key tactic in running a successful family law practice will involve working with other similarly-situated legal agencies. You’ll probably want to start off with a specific area of law that you know your firm can excel at, then branch out. What direction you take often depends on where you think you are most needed. You may have always had a passion for criminal law or environmental law, but your clients are in need of immigration law or insolvency. Think about what would help your current clients and those in the local area. However, this could take a long time for you to reach this point. In the meantime, you need to have a plan of action to best help your clients when you don’t have the experience needed. You will find that the need to reach out to others happens frequently.

Sometimes you’ll have cases which cross boundaries, though, and having relationships with other firms can be important. For instance, you may find yourself handling a case that also sees the need to bring a social justice lawyer on board. This may only happen once, but it has the potential to happen multiple times, and until you have the experience on your own team, you need to work with other firms to ensure the best outcome for your client.

A family legal firm will have lots of clientele who need the services you provide. In terms of “job security”, these firms have a strong track record. It makes sense to get into this kind of law. Education can help you learn how to handle cases, but in the real world, it makes sense to work with established professionals to learn how the game is played.

Remember that many other firms will likely be in the same position as you. Therefore, they may turn to you for advice and aid in handling a case. This is why building a relationship is so important. You both will be looking to work with one another, all for the good of the client.

Working with Other Sectors

It isn’t just other law firms that you can partner yourself up with or be involved with. Those family law firms that think beyond their sector will be the ones that start to make a name for themselves or make a difference in the wider community. Not everyone has your knowledge or skillset or is aware of issues like social justice – or some are aware of it but don’t fully understand it or how to get involved or relate to those who are passionate. For instance, students are more likely to be aware of this than their educators. If educators want to be able to form strong relationships with them, they need to understand the passions of their students, and, in this case, for many, this will be social justice. Already educational leaders are trying to bring about social justice in education. Educational institutes have articles on the matter detailing what social justice is and how leaders can drive these meaningful changes. With universities looking to gain more educational leaders that are keen to bring about social justice in schools and campuses everywhere, as a law firm, you can play your part too.

Even though your practice may lie in family law, you will already be aware of the human rights acts and fundamental freedoms that are recognized nationally and internationally. Therefore, you have an awareness of what counts as a social justice case on the surface. Offering advice to people free of charge could be a great way to give back to the community. Working with the education sector is another great move that family lawyers can make. Not only does it put your name out there, but you could find yourself being part of this change.

For those other law firms that you find yourself working with frequently, like social justice lawyers, take the time to learn more about what they do. If you find yourself passionate about social justice issues, you may even want to make bigger changes in your own law firm that sees you drafting a new lawyer who specializes in this as your first branching out moment.

Furthering their Training

Every single one of your lawyers in your firm should know the proper etiquette of meeting with clients. Knowing how to handle and react to people, who are likely to be experiencing high emotions, is crucial. Therefore, offering training to those in your firm is going to be crucial. With them nailing their communication skills and knowing how to manage a room, you can be certain that your law firm will gain a reputation for not just knowledge and skills but also for treating people the way with respect.

Offering training for other areas is going to be crucial too. As law practice is so competitive, developing their skills as a lawyer will help your firm immensely. You need to be certain that they are keeping up with the latest tools and trends within the industry, and while many will go out of their way to do this in their free time, many won’t. Therefore, if you want your law firm to succeed, part of your duty in managing them is ensuring that they are getting this training. Arranging it annually or every six months will ensure that your lawyers aren’t going to get left behind. Make sure you take part in this, too, by bringing in external trainers.

The types of training you could consider include:

  • Mentoring
  • Conventions and conferences
  • Courses in non-legal areas
  • Coaching
  • Consulting

You may choose to offer all of these, but it will depend entirely on your expenses. Speak to your team to discover what it is they would like more guidance or training on. They will love to voice their opinions and know exactly what they would like to work on more. Don’t assume you know what they want. Having open and honest communication ensures that the entire team will respect those above them. It also helps you to keep the best lawyers within your firm.