Dave Swanner’s recent post on South Carolina Trial Law Blog about the three most important values he places on hiring employees could equally apply to how lawyers are valued by staff. His three values are loyalty, communication and hard work; and he puts them ahead of intelligence when it comes to hiring an employee. He has a very good point.
I am sure there are other values one could think of, but his three got me to thinking, don’t staff look for the same things in their law firms. The way staff is treated in some law firms is a disgrace and the reason for high turnover in those firms. Why should a staff person not expect to be treated with respect? And when some lawyers fail in that regard, is the law firm showing loyalty to the staff by not admonishing the perpetrator. Communication or the lack of it is often another cause for unhappy staff members. Finally, some lawyers don’t work as hard as they may claim, and others work hard but are inefficient in managing their work flow. Both lead to last minute demands on staff that may require staying late and the staff person’s family suffering in the process.
Oh, I knew you were going to ask what that has to do with marketing. As a very savvy rainmaker (in one of my in-house positions) often said “marketing has everything to do with everything a lawyer and a law firm does.” Simply put, an unhappy staff can have a killing effect out there in the marketplace. Reputations have a habit of becoming public knowledge. And, I would argue that there are clients that do not want to deal with a law firm that mistreats their staff.