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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"Reed Smith Hires Two to Run Firm as Global Business"

An intriguing headline about Reed Smith's hiring of two non-lawyers in executive roles. If you read the piece it includes all the usual rhetoric about "running a law firm like a business."

How should small firms grow their personnel??

Our first hire was a part-time non-lawyer secretary whose primarily role is to oversee billing/collections and the non-lawyer aspects of residential real estate closings. I think for most small firms the first hire should be a non-lawyer to oversee the business side of the firm. If this person were full-time with us I'd use her for more marketing related development and general business planning/forecasting.

I think our next hire will also be a non-lawyer sort of paralegal figure to work in pure legal areas, thus creating a pure business staff person and a pure legal staff person. As yet we haven't made this hire...we sort of cover this role currently with a law student who does periodic project work and legal research.

The third hire I could foresee would be an attorney or maybe a merger. I'd like this to be a good "sales" lawyer. Rather than practice area splits in small firms I like the model of a lawyer or two who sign-up clients and then a lawyer or two who focus on substantive legal work. I don't think the strong sales skills plus strong analytical legal skills are found too often in a single person.

What have others done?


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