Thursday, June 20, 2019

Tips For Keeping Your Law Firm Employees Happy

Tips For Keeping Your Law Firm Employees Happy

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The success of your law firm is very much related to your employees’ happiness. While many small business owners spend a lot of time instilling policies and practices that help track their employees’ time and productivity, many neglect to measure employee happiness as an important metric for their business’ performance. Running a law firm, your lawyers and other personnel are your business’ most important asset. They help bring in clients, keep them happy and win cases. Every employee in your firm plays a role in the overall success of your firm. If any of these employees are not happy in their job however, their performance and that of the entire firm will be negatively affected. There are numerous studies that indicate how large the effect employee happiness has on the success of a business, especially one that relies on the performance of knowledge workers. Below are a few tips that can help keep your employees happy and performing well, while making your firm a better place to work.

tips for keeping law firm Tips For Keeping Your Law Firm Employees Happy

Empower Your Employees

Many lawyers who run their own small firm have a tendency to try to control everything that goes on, micro-managing the tiniest details of their employees’ work. Not only will this type of behavior suck up your valuable time, but it will also have a negative effect on your employees’ happiness and performance. Give your employees some ownership over their tasks. You can guide them at the beginning (especially if they have to perform tasks they’ve never done) and enquire about the status of certain tasks, but don’t try to micro-manage everything they do all the time. If an employee feels that the work they do is their own and has an actual impact on the success of the firm, they will feel much more proud of their work and consequently enjoy it more. This will lead to better individual and eventually firm performance. Even something as simple as letting your employees design their own workspaces in the office can improve your employee’s performance (by up to 32% one study shows).

Create an Immediate Feedback Culture

Giving and asking for feedback is very important in any business. Employees want to know how they are performing on their tasks, but they want to know it now, not at the end of the year. That way they can immediately adjust when any of their work is lacking quality or missing the right focus. The management of the firm also needs to be open to feedback. Implement an informal weekly or bi-weekly feedback session so any issues can be addressed promptly.

Help Keep Your Employees Healthy

Health is very important for employee happiness and performance. If your employees are not healthy, they’ll more often have to skip work due to illness and are more likely to be unhappy. You want to encourage your employees not to work extremely long hours every day. While you may believe that having employees that often work late is good for your firm, in the long term this can actually decrease overall productivity and lead to burned-out lawyers and other employees. Create a culture where it’s ok to leave the office early sometimes. Also encourage exercise and healthy eating, for example by giving your employees free gym memberships and providing fruit at the office.

Make sure to ask your employees what they believe is important to keep them happy at the firm and use this to instill new employee happiness policies.

Zane Schwarzlose is a writer at Alamo Injury Attorneys, a personal injury law firm in San Antonio, Texas. Zane thinks it would be too easy to overwork employees in a law firm.



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Legacy of Truth Telling: Famous Whistleblowers

Legacy of Truth Telling: Famous Whistleblowers

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AOE WHISPER Legacy of Truth Telling: Famous Whistleblowers

Legacy of Truth Telling: Famous Whistleblowers

When you see misconduct, wrongdoing or fraud on the job, it can be very easy to turn your head and ignore it, particularly if it is being perpetrated by one of your superiors. Doing the right thing can often be difficult. If you are considering becoming a whistleblower, you are not alone. There is a long history of people coming forward to expose the truth, and doing so has toppled both governments and corporations.

Policy of Truth: 5 Famous Whistleblowers

Though back in the day whistleblowers often feared losing their jobs, truth-tellers today enjoy a certain amount of protection by the courts and the law. If you are considering coming forward to expose wrongdoing, it’s important you consult a whistleblowing attorney like Goldberg Kohn to find out exactly what the expectations placed on you will be, what will happen and what the possible results are. They will be able to guide you through the process and ensure you get the best possible outcome.

1) Mark Felt (a.k.a. Deep Throat)
A secret FBI informant, the identity of Deep Throat was debated for decades until Mark Felt finally decided to come forward in 2005. Helping Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein by passing them highly sensitive information, Felt became a symbol for those who wanted to do the right thing. Nixon avoided impeachment by resigning in disgrace, and a nation learned to take a harder look it its politicians.

2) Jeffrey Wiggand
A high ranking executive in the tobacco industry, Jeffrey became aware that huge cigarette brands were packing their product with highly addictive levels of nicotine, as well as targeting “younger markets.” He went on the television news program, “60 Minutes” in 1996 to expose the practices of big tobacco firms and certainly didn’t win himself any friends. A few years later, he was portrayed by Russell Crowe in a movie about the incident, “The Insider.”

3) Coleen Rowley
Former FBI Special Agent Rowley provided the agency with important information about the 9/11 attacks that she said was essentially ignored. In 2002, she came forward with this information and publically demanded to know why it was not acted upon. In doing so, she became one of the nation’s most high-profile whistleblowers.

4) Sherron Watkins
When the Enron scandal broke, Sherron Watkins was at the heart of it. Though Enron was a formidable company to take on, she helped the government to expose them for financial fraud and lies. She was named Time Magazine’s Person of the year, a title she shared with Coleen Rowley, another whistleblower.

5) Bradley Manning
The national jury is still out on Bradley Manning, who some call a traitor and others call a patriot. Manning provided ultimate exposure site, Wikileaks, with official and sensitive government documentation, including the now infamous “Collateral Murder” video which showed both civilians and journalists being killed by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He has been jailed for 35 years, but the legal campaign grows for him daily.

If you’re thinking of blowing the whistle, there is a long legacy of other truth-tellers you can look to for guidance. While it may not be the easiest path, a specialist whistleblower attorney can help guide you through what you need to do and ensure you come out of it okay. Remember, honesty is always the best policy, no matter what.

Writer Melanie Fleury loves learning about the history of our government and history of people who spoken out against the government. She found the website of Goldberg Kohn very informative. It offers resources for whistleblowers that is valuable for anyone contemplating joining the legacy of truth telling.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/keyofnight/9409921931/



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5 Signs Your Law Firms Website Needs A Redesign

5 Signs Your Law Firms Website Needs A Redesign

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While there’s plenty of content on how to redesign your legal site, there’s significantly less online that indicates when that redesign is needed. Check out what to look out for on your site to determine if your firm or company needs a site redesign.

Slow Load Time

Five seconds should be your rule of thumb. If it takes any longer, you’ve lost leads as they’ve already moved on. This is because many users might not only have a slow connection to begin with, but they could be navigating your page on a mobile. As such, considering not everyone is on a 4G LTE network, your page should be easy to load whether on a 2G or Google Fiber connection.

Traffic Decline

If you see traffic going down month after month, it’s a strong indicator that your site needs updating. A complete redesign may be a bit dramatic response, but a content update is the minimum your site will need to reel traffic back in. Not to mention fresh content can also improve to your search engine rankings. Blogging through your site offers an effective means to tackle the content issue, while also demonstrate to users that you are engaged in your site, while also reaping the SEO benefits that come with regularly updated content.

Navigation

If customers or potential clients are struggling to reach a particular page on your site, you need to change up how users can navigate the site. However, it may be difficult to determine this since you can’t exactly approach a user who will potentially be on your site in the future. One good way to test your site navigation is by finding a page on the site yourself, hopefully a page that even you believe is tougher to navigate to. Then have someone (i.e. friend, family, etc.) who has not visited your site before, and see how long it takes them to get from your homepage to the page of interest. Compare their time to yours. Your goal is to bring their time as close to yours as possible through changes to navigation in your site. Of course, who you pick can make a difference as not everyone out there is familiar with navigating business sites. However, this process serves as a rule of thumb to establish a goal of where you want to be when it comes to navigating your site.

High Bounce Rate

Take advantage of sources such as Google Analytics to check empirics such as your traffic and bounce rate. A high bounce rate that only increases means that more and more people are coming to your home page and leaving immediately. This might be because of poor content, navigation, or overall design. Regardless, bounce rate serves as a strong indicator to a site on whether changes need to be made.

Socialize

If your homepage isn’t connected to your firm or company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn pages or YouTube channel, it is highly likely that you will need to make adjustments to the site. With hundreds of millions to as much as a billion users on these social media platforms, you are letting go of valuable potential leads that you could capture at no cost to you. Not to mention these sites also offer the opportunity for client reviews, interaction between your site and potential clients, as well as new avenues to launch advertising and ppc campaigns. If you haven’t already taken advantage of social media, then you should do so immediately.

Jason McMinn is a partner at Alamo Injury Attorneys in San Antonio, Texas. He recently completed a redesign of his law firm’s website.



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Personal Injury Law: A Brief History

Personal Injury Law: A Brief History

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Many people today believe the history of personal injury law and claims must be a fairly short and modern one. After all, claims against drunk drivers, faulty appliances, and medical malpractice must be fairly modern occurrences, right?  Well, actually, personal injury law and lawyers have roots stretching back much farther than our parent’s generation. In fact, the origins of personal injury law can be traced all the way back to the first civilizations.

mesopotamia Personal Injury Law: A Brief History

Simple Beginnings

The famed decree of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” was popularly practiced in Ancient Mesopotamia and was a law outlined by the Code of Hammurabi. Though often brutal in its execution and less civilized than most modern laws — this law offering reciprocity to the perpetrators of crimes was among the first personal injury laws in human civilization. The law emerged as a means of dealing with negligence or wrongdoing by one party against another — a primitive form of today’s system.

Later, in Ancient Greece and Rome, the role of lawyers in the process of aiding those suffering personal injury expanded. Traditionally, plaintiffs in a case were allowed to bring a companion to to trial to help them plead their grievances against another party. These companions often had familiarity with legal proceedings and the laws of their civilization, and thus served as valuable aids to plaintiffs. Though these companions were forbidden from accepting monetary compensation for their services, the rule was rarely enforced, and thus the profession of lawyers began to emerge. By the middle of the 1st century AD, the Emperor had officially abolished this law, and Lawyers expanded even further.

Evolution of the Field

By the fall of the Roman Empire, lawyers had become amongst the most respected, educated and well-paid members of society, cementing their role as we know them today. In the sphere of personal injury law, by the 17th century, most plaintiffs could receive compensation in a court of law for any wages lost by personal injury. The growth of the Industrial Revolution and Progressive movements in the early 20th century, such as the one led by Theodore Roosevelt, led to more expansion and more action taken to protect individuals from negligent corporations and industries. Personal injury lawyers eventually sparked the passage of reforms such as Worker’s Compensation in the United States, expanding individual’s rights even further.

Contemporary Innovations & The Future

Personal injury law has not overwhelmingly changed since the mid 20th century. Nevertheless, alterations allow plaintiffs to now receive damages for “pain and suffering” as a result of personal injury. And while the modern field of personal injury lawyers has sometimes been seen as sparking frivolous lawsuits, many personal injury suits have caused marked reform by companies to enact new safety protocols to protect consumers. As a result of many lawsuits resulting from deficient car designs or unanticipated side effects of medications, companies have taken drastic steps to improve air bag standards or testing procedures for drugs before products can enter the marketplace.

The future of personal injury law is less clear than our past, but despite its sometimes less than stellar perception, the future of the profession promises to continue to protect individuals and promote the safety and prosperity of our society.

Matt Kyle is an attorney at Kyle Law Firm based in the New Braunfels, Texas area. Receiving his training at the University of Texas School of Law, Kyle has been named a Texas “Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly Magazine, and voted “Best Attorney” in New Braunfels, TX and San Marcos, TX.

Photo Credit: edenpictures (CC BY 2.0)



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