March-April 2012

Issue link: http://ailahub.aila.org/i/58388

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Page 19 of 33

HIRE A firm is only as good as the people who work for it. Attracting and retaining clients requires an investment in human capital, in the form of employees and staff, capable of handling client matters in a productive and efficient manner. This article provides guidance on attracting and identifying the best talent to improve your organization, and then retaining those key employees. It is only by employing the best people to perform their best and stay with your firm for the long-term, that you are able to effectively manage your firm and its valuable human resources. One of the never-ending challenges of running a practice—big or small—is finding the right staff. Whether because the practice is growing or changing, or because staff is moving up or on, there seems to be very little respite from the recruitment process. The following suggestions may facilitate the process: Clearly Define the Position Before identifying a desirable candidate, the managing attorney should clearly define the position he or she will be expected to fill. This should include more than the job titles of "paralegal" or even "senior paralegal." Think extensively about the job duties that the individual will perform and the requisite skills. For example, a position that will involve preparing H-1B petitions should clearly indicate what aspects of the H-1B petition will be the individual's responsibility: Is it working from templates or more original draſting? Will it include determining the prevailing wage and preparing the public access file? Will it involve contact with the petitioner and beneficiary, or using information already contained in a database? To whom should the individual report? While it may seem tedious, a detailed outline of the job duties will save time. Clearly defined job 20 VOICE the right people the first time duties will help you articulate the skills necessary to perform the job, and this, in turn, will allow you to focus on desirable candidates. For example, if the position is more senior and independent, it will not only require more years of experience, but also strong writing skills, organizational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to analyze and interpret data. In addition, it may require an ability to establish systems for managing multiple cases and developing ongoing relationships with clients. Clearly Define the Advertisement Once the position is clearly defined, you are ready to place the advertisement. In fact, you already may have a draſt of the advertisement by virtue of "[THE ADVERTISEMENT] SHOULD EMPHASIZE THE KEY SKILLS YOU ARE SEEKING— WHETHER EXCELLENT WRITING AND ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS OR STRONG INTERPERSONAL SKILLS AND FLUENCY IN GERMAN AND MANDARIN." BY SUZANNE SELTZER

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