We at Dwyer Williams Dretke PC would like to be more helpful as a resource for new and prospective personal injury lawyers. With this goal in mind, we have decided to incorporate professional advice into our blog, starting today with a series on how to foster great relations with, quite possibly, the most important person in your office: your Legal Assistant or Secretary.
How to Keep Your Legal Assistant Happy
We polled the legal secretaries in our office and came up a list of nine top areas in which we personal injury lawyers can help empower our assistants and keep them happy in the office. Here are our first three suggestions:
Legal secretaries should see all incoming mail. Even if they do not have much time to absorb and process the mail, that brief exposure will help keep your assistant aware of what is currently happening in a case: of which parties are asking questions and of what documents are coming in.
- Job Directions
Support staff need to be given clear, ideally concise, directions based on their attorneys’ needs and the purpose of the request. Our support staff suggested that it could make a huge difference for attorneys to take a few minutes to explain the context and importance of each assignment that they bring their secretaries. Communication breakdowns are frustrating for support staff and attorneys alike, but luckily the confusion and resentment that accompany communication breakdowns can be avoided by proactive project explanations.
Many of our support staff felt that clear job assignment parameters would help reduce their stress at work. When completing client’s initial interview forms, for example, can your legal secretary call a client back to seek more information without infringing on what the attorney had in mind? Don’t be shy about setting these boundaries with your assistant: clarification will allows him/her to grasp the scope of the job.
Check back soon to read the next post in this series and remember that we will be sharing more advice like this in the future. From our office to yours!