I am a solo practitioner in Central Illinois. As my staff seems to expand, I feel a need to become more formal. I have a question about nondisclosure agreements with staff? Also office procedures or rules? Also in hiring I am finding less and less candidates that lack any experience in a legal setting. The Illinois State Bar Association Law Practice Management Section may want to consider a half day program that is internet based to acquaint staff who have office experience but no legal experience with some of the basic issues including nomenclature, confidentiality, basic legal drafting, etc.
Our committee has not addressed this of late - we may have years ago and if we did there might be an article in the dark past in the Bottom Newsletter which is the newsletter of the Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics.
Most of my law firm clients are addressing the topic usually in their office policy handbook as opposed to a separate document. You might want to begin to put together both an office policy (employee handbook) as well as a "how to procedural manual" as well.
Suggest that the office policy (employee handbook), in addition to other topics, cover policies on:
- Confidentiality & Proprietary Rights - firm and clients
- Privacy Policies
- Computer and Electronic Communications
Have a sign-off page in the Policy (Employee Handbook) and have each employee acknowledge that they have read said policies and file a copy in each employee's personnel file.
ABA has a book on Office Policies and Procedures that can be purchased that you might find helpful:
Thanks for the suggestion regarding the CLE. I am the CLE coordinator for our committee - so I will bring up the topic and see what the group thinks.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC