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People Management

getting clients title showing three people

How to Give Tough Feedback

I once worked with a midlevel manager who, when advised of someone's shoddy work or bad behavior, would inevitably respond with a simple, "Okay, I'll tell her." And that was exactly what he would do: Take the person aside, metaphorically hold ...

Merrilyn Astin Tarlton - September 4, 2015
T-Rex with open mouth Otto Sorts

The Lawyer Who Liked to ‘One-Up’

“I never seem to get it right enough with him,” Sara told me, as she expressed her frustrations about being on Terry's case team. “He always has to do it better than me.” I nodded. Terry was an ace litigator, hardworking, controlling and driven ...

Otto Sorts - August 27, 2015

Sharing Bad News with the Office

No one likes to deliver bad news. But things happen, and when they do it's important to let those around you know. In your law office, failing to share bad news at the appropriate time can lead to rumor and innuendo, as well as loss of morale ...

Wendy Werner - June 4, 2015
Super Boss

Can You Be a Better Boss?

Question: From a firm administrator’s perspective, what could a lawyer do to be a better boss? Supervising staff can be a challenge, but any lawyer can be a good boss with a little conscious effort. In this edition ...

The Editors - February 25, 2015
man sitting in chair managing a law practice jared correia

Ways Support Staff Makes Your Bacon

My wife is about a million times smarter than I am. (No … 100 billion.) For my money, that’s the recipe for a successful marriage. I’m a lawyer; she’s a legal assistant. We don’t work together, though — because that would be the recipe for a ...

Jared Correia - December 8, 2014
T-Rex with open mouth Otto Sorts

Senior Staff Performance — It’s Been a Long Time

I hired Pat over 30 years ago, and she has worked either with me or in association with me ever since. She never was a great legal secretary, but she's reasonably bright, loyal and, for the most part, hardworking. However, as can happen to the ...

Otto Sorts - November 11, 2014

How to Handle Disagreements in the Law Office

Working together in a law office isn't always rainbows and puppies. There can be some serious dustups, and we all know what that means — somebody's work isn't getting done. We asked a couple of experts from the Association of Legal ...

The Editors - October 1, 2014

The Pain of the Gain: 10 Steps to a High Growth Rate

It's unavoidable. If the goal you and your colleagues have set for your firm is a high rate of growth, you are going to be banging your heads against a wall every day. So it’s important to know up front whether that wall is made of bricks or ...

Bob Christensen - July 28, 2014
Performance Evaluation

Best Way to Handle Staff Performance Problems?

Question: What’s the best way to deal with staff performance problems? It seems like attempting to work them out during performance evaluation discussions between the assistant and the lawyer she works for is just going to ...

The Editors - June 30, 2014
T-Rex with open mouth Otto Sorts

Is It Senior-Lawyer Wisdom or Just Weariness?

Oh, I admit I was a little hard on my colleagues, but their idea was an old one we tried years ago to no avail. I guess they felt I was a bit harsh in the process of shooting it down (again) too, because when I left the room, I overheard one of ...

Otto Sorts - June 16, 2014