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Do Small Law Firms Need Policies and Procedures?

Do Small Law Firms Need Policies and Procedures

Note: The following is an excerpt from a new eBook titled 15 Ideas for Getting a Jump-Start on 2015 which is freely available with registration.

We often hear the question, “If it is just me or a few people in the firm, why does a policy and procedure manual matter?”

Because no matter the size of your firm, people respond well to structure and consistency.

But first, let’s break down the difference between policies and procedures.

A policy is considered more external, i.e. one which might define the relationship with the client.

A procedure is something that will apply more internally, i.e. one which would define the relationships and how things are done within the firm.

The need for a policies and procedure manual is important, because if they’re not written down, they really don’t exist.

How to Get Started

It can seem intimidating to start a policies and procedures manual, but the most important needs usually present themselves in the form of consistent “pain points.”

For example, if every day you’re showing your admin how to do the same task, start there. Outline it, write it down, then be sure to ask for feedback along the way to verify you’re explaining it in a clear and concise matter.

Even if you have no staff, it’s important to establish your system from day one. Time invested now will pay off huge the minute you hire your first assistant or admin.

The key to making sure it works long-term is allowing for opportunities to improve on your process. One caveat: take care not to allow TOO much input and constant changes, otherwise it could turn chaotic with too many generals. An easy way to avoid this is to add a suggestion box to solicit input, and then get buy-in from everyone else.

The complete eBook, with 14 other expert viewpoints, is freely available for download with registration here.

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Penn Dodson is attorney with AndersonDodson, PC; she has previously presented a session at an industry tradeshow on this topic and her core concepts are presented here: Legal Tech: Solo Success and Real-World Insights.  Readers can also find her on Twitter @SunnysideLaw.

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Grow: Perform a  “Health Check” Your Law Firm’s Processes

Photo credit:  Flickr, Les Chatfield, (CC BY 2.0)

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About Dave Honaker

Dave Honaker
Dave Honaker joined LexisNexis in 2011 and currently serves as an eMarketing Specialist for the Business of Law Software Solutions group. His career has been focused on the targeted communication of thoughts and ideas for advertising and marketing firms, lobbying groups, and motion picture production companies from New York to Washington, D.C. As a current member of the LexisNexis Firm Manager® team, he has helped rebuild the product from the ground up with input from solo and small-firm attorneys around the country to best serve their needs. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Public Relations from Radford University.