TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Dec 30, 2014
With more Tennessee attorneys – especially new lawyers – deciding to “hang out” their own shingle and begin a solo or small firm practice, the TBA has developed the Solo in a Box Toolkit. Each issue of E-DICT this year will spotlight one of the toolkit’s 12 sections. This month we look at human resources issues.

At some point, every solo practioner must weigh the cost of handling his or her administrative tasks versus the cost of hiring a receptionist or paralegal. If you are spending as much time handling administrative work as you are handling legal work, you are probably leaving money on the table!

In the Human Resources Help section, the Solo in a Box Toolkit provides advice from seasoned attorneys on issues related to interviewing, hiring and supervising staff, as well as terminating staff when the need arises. Each section is presented in an easy to read, bullet-style format that covers both the “do’s” and the “don’ts.”

Interviewing – The section on interviewing includes tips for conducting an interview as well as sample questions to ask of a prospective employee.

Hiring – The section on hiring addresses such issues as having a written job description, requiring prospective employees to complete a formal application and thoroughly vetting prospective employees.

Supervision – The section on supervision focuses on having a written policy that address issues such as attendance, performance, job duties, appropriate attire and standards expected.

Termination – This section includes information about Tennessee law on firing an employee and under what circumstances a fired employee may collect unemployment benefits.

Ethical Issues – Finally, of particular importance is the section on ethical issues in human resources, which reminds attorneys that the Rules of Professional Conduct hold lawyers responsible for the conduct of employees if that conduct would be unethical by an attorney, if the lawyer orders or ratifies the conduct or if the lawyer knows of the conduct and fails to take reasonable remedial action.

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