We are a three attorney personal injury plaintiff firm in Moline, Illinois. There are two partners and one associate in the firm. We handle a large volume of small PI files - currently we have 700+ open files handled by three attorneys and 5 assistants. We recently hired our fourth attorney - second associate - that came to us with 20 year's experience as an associate in several large firms (100 plus attorney firms). The attorney, who has been with us for about 8 weeks, has never handled personal injury cases and is having some problems getting organized. Do you have any suggestions?
I am a believer that time invested in orientation, training, and mentoring upfront can dramatically reduce a new associate's spin time, help them get online quicker, and improve overall profitability. Even though your associate has 20 year's experience in a large law firm - the work and the case management challenges are different. The associate may never have had overall management responsibility for cases or client relationships. The associate may have been assigned tasks to be completed with the partner having the case and client management responsibility. If the attorney did manage cases there is a major difference between managing say 25-50 large cases versus managing 150 small cases. There are new case management and client management skill sets and practices that will have to be developed and practiced in addition to the new area of law.
Invest time training and mentoring and share case and client management tools that can help your associate get off to a faster start.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC