Despite the increased tendency towards autonomy, many lawyers and law firms still rely heavily on support staff for leverage. The result is that there is an entire team of individuals who perform crucial functions within a firm that the lawyers simply don’t get involve in.
In particular, the relationship you have with your secretary/legal assistant/PA is going to be critical to your success. A great team will get things done better, faster and to greater client satisfaction than 2 people working at odds with each other.
Your personal assistant is not just there to do what you say – they are an integral part of a team, and if you approach that relationship correctly you’re going to have a huge advantage over others who don’t take the time to invest in that.
What’s it involve? Well in this podcast I talk about 5 fundamental pieces of this particular puzzle. Of course, it involves people – and people are complicated, so it’s not like there is going to be a set of rules – these principles will help you across the board, however:
- Commit – like any relationship, you need to invest in it and approach it deliberately if it’s going to work;
- Have an open flow of communication, not a 1 way dictatorship – you might just learn something;
- Delegate effectively – you’ve got to give people the right tools if you want to have things done properly;
- Give honest feedback – frequently, not just in performance reviews once a year. Do you really want to wait a year before raising something?
- Don’t be arrogant – as much training as you have had, you are not the fount of all knowledge – so put your pride away and be open to ideas, input and feedback from your PA.