16 April 2021

How to build a team or department from nothing


When a lawyer starts with his new legal project or becomes head of a department in a law firm, one of the first questions that crosses his mind is the structuring of his team of employees


How do you create a team from scratch?

This is an eventuality that every entrepreneur - including lawyers who decide to set up their own law firm - faces. To do this properly, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

- What kind of team do you want to lead?

It is important to imagine in your mind what you want your team to be like, what values you want the employees to have. You also need to consider what competencies you want your employees to have.

- Responsibilities

When planning the number of employees that will fit into a team, you have to think about what responsibilities and roles each of them should have. Mentally prioritising responsibilities is a good planning exercise before you start hiring.

- Profiling team members

Devising an ideal profile for each of the roles can be useful during the selection process. Although it is important to be clear about the specific profiles you want to hire, you should also make an effort to be open-minded and consider hiring people with different profiles than the ones you initially thought of. Diversity is often the key to success.

How to prepare to lead a team?

Those who have never managed a team of workers may find it difficult to lead them at first. Leadership is practice and sometimes intuition. When it comes to leading a team, these are the issues you need to be clear about:

- The team needs rapport

A well-functioning team is a team that is able to work in a coordinated way. Before the pandemic, this may have been easier to achieve, as workers used to come to the office every day. Because of the pandemic, many firms are now teleworking, so teams have learned to work together remotely

As a leader you have to learn to manage your employees in such a way that their work complements the work of others, but never overlaps or destroys it

- The team needs support and understanding

Leaders do not have to look only at their ability to command tasks or plan strategies. The leader is much more than that. The leader is a motivator, a coach for every employee in a team. 

It is important that within a team there is support, there is trust; that the leader is able to understand the situation of each worker; that he/she knows how far each one can go. 

The leader has to know each of the employees perfectly, and this cannot be achieved without open and friendly communication

- The team needs to be informed

In the course of a lawyer's professional life, the firm in which he or she works undergoes changes, whether external (changing clients or adding new departments) or internal (updating the brand). The most important thing in any change made in a firm is that the employees are aware of all the changes, that they are informed, that they know why the firm makes certain decisions or why the heads of the areas decide to propose a specific strategy

There are many tips to keep in mind once a lawyer sets up a firm or leads a team for the first time. They must bear in mind that a worker-firm connection is vital and, in the vast majority of cases, the strengthening of this connection depends directly on the team leaders and managers.

Copyright © The Impact Lawyers. All rights reserved. This information or any part of it may not be copied or disseminated in any way or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of The Impact Lawyers. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of The Impact Lawyers.

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