Your firm is growing and that’s a good thing, but hiring new lawyers to help with workload can be an expensive and time-consuming task. When is it the right time to add a new lawyer to your staff?
When you turn down new work
Being in demand is exciting and gratifying. But when you’re in so much demand that you can’t meet the need, that sets you back. When you find that you’re turning down multiple referrals because of a lack of time to bring on the new clients, you should consider building your staff.
When you have too many clients to handle
Maybe you didn’t turn down those referrals or maybe work ramped up with existing clients. All of a sudden you’ve found yourself struggling to manage your caseload and you’re not delivering the level of service you know you’re capable of. If client service is falling to the wayside, this is absolutely an indicator that you need additional attorneys on staff. While administrative staff can lighten the load with some tasks, it’s unreasonable (and possibly unethical) to delegate too much.
And a definitive ethical pitfall is letting deadlines pass by. If you’re finding things slipping through the cracks, you likely need help.
When you’re working all the time
Working a lot can be a badge of honor for lawyers, but it’s also a drain on your mental, emotional, and physical resources. At some point, working 80 hour weeks isn’t sustainable. Quality of life is important and having the right team in place helps you achieve that.
When you’re not meeting your goals
Long-term or short-term, goals help all of us make progress on our objectives. But sometimes you get bogged down in the day-to-day. If your firm’s goals are looking more like wishful thinking, bringing another lawyer onto your team can help free up your resources to make strategic decisions.