Do you have an employment manual?

Law firm employment manualIf you are running a law firm and employing people, do you have an employment manual for your law firm?  With law firms being run and operated by attorneys, it is surprising how many law firms operate with no employment manual at all.

An employment manual (or handbook) is essential to the smooth operation of a law firm.  If you are employing individuals and don’t have an employment manual, this is definitely something you want and need.

An employment manual or handbook can deal with issues such as work hours, paid and unpaid leave, spelling out job functions and duties for various positions, policies against harassment and discrimination.  It can also address matters such as breaks and lunches, wages, billable hour requirements, timekeeping, pay and salary issues, military leave, electronic and computer systems, use of company property, drug/alcohol use, dress code and separation of employment.

An employment manual can also deal with issues such as defining that employment is at-will.  It can also address that the law firm has discretion in employment and discipline issues.  It might mention that employees cannot enter into contracts on behalf of the law firm.

For whatever reason, many lawyers run their law firm informally.  They hesitate to implement an employment manual.  Some worry that the law firm employees won’t like and it will create more headaches.  Some like running their law firm, in essence, informally on a handshake deal.

In the end, employing individuals is a tremendous responsibility.  If you are going to hire individuals to work for your law firm, you want your policies and procedures set forth to protect your law firm.  You also want all new employees knowing the policies and procedures from day-one to make sure your law firm functions smoothly.

Even if you feel like you are capable of putting together your own employment manual and handbook, it’s much wiser to hire an attorney who practices in the area of employment law to put this together for your law firm.  There are intricacies to employment law that you could only really know if you practice in this area.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below

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