About beverlym

As a law practice management consultant and educator, my goal is to help Oregon attorneys improve their office practices and procedures. With over 35 years in the profession, I possess the problem-solving skills to help you make your law practice more efficient, effective, and profitable. Learn more here: http://www.oregonlawpracticemanagement.org/about/. My complete biography can be viewed at http://www.linkedin.com/in/beverlymichaelis.

How to Terminate an Employee the Right Way

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Let’s face it, no organization is immune from having to make the tough decision to terminate an employee. Of course no one likes to do it, but that still leaves the real question of how and when you should do it? This is especially true for lawyers beginning a new practice or expanding their existing practice…

via Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: How to Terminate an Employee the Right Way.

Assuming the employee has not committed an act that warrants immediate termination, consider these suggestions from the post referenced above:

  • Document, Document, Document: Scrupulously document disciplinary issues (if it’s not documented, it’s as if it didn’t happen).
  • Start with Warnings: When addressing performance issues, consider using a progressive disciplinary approach: For example, an escalating series of verbal, written, and other more serious notifications to the employee so they can attempt to improve their performance. However, this would not apply to serious performance breaches, nor for new employees who clearly don’t have the skills for the job.
  • Be Consistent: Take the same disciplinary approach for all employees—being mindful of each individual’s unique background and characteristics such as race; color; religion; pregnancy; gender identity; sexual orientation; national origin; age, 40 or older; disability, visible or invisible; or genetic information.
  • Document Some More: Always document the termination with a concise termination memo. If you do not provide the reason(s) for termination, the employee might assume the actual reason for their discharge was due to whatever protected category applies to them, such as race, gender, or age.
  • Don’t Waver: In the termination meeting, be professional but firm in your decision. The termination memo should do much of the talking for you.
  • Stick to the Script: Do NOT say anything different to the employee than what’s included in the termination memo—this is not the time to be overly reassuring and retreat from the true reasons for discharging the employee.
  • Go in as a Team: Try to have a manager who knows the employee present for the termination. A team approach—two management representatives, or a management representative and a human resources representative, or a management representative and a career counselor, etc.—is preferable because one person can take notes and there will be more than one witness to confirm what is said.

The Professional Liability Fund offers a Checklist for Departing Staff and sample office manuals, which may be helpful. From the home page, select Practice Management > Forms and peruse the “Staff” and “Office Manuals” categories.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

 

Texting Services for Law Firms

Why text clients? Well, for starters it’s fast and convenient. Clients don’t need WiFi to reply. More importantly texts are read, with an open rate of 98% compared to email, at roughly 20%.

But with pros come cons.

The moment you begin using your personal phone to text clients, you’ve sacrificed your privacy. Reason enough to find an alternative. But the concerns don’t stop there.

Messages will always be held hostage on your device unless special steps are taken to incorporate them as part of the client file, a requirement of OSB Formal Opinion No. 2017-192 Client Property: Duplication Charges for Client Files, Production or Withholding of Client Files.

The solution? A business texting service, like Zipwhip.

If you’ve attended any of my CLEs, odds are you’ve heard me speak about this product. Please allow me the opportunity to refresh your memory with the features and advantages of business texting.

7 reasons to use Zipwhip instead of your phone

  1. Your privacy is protected. Zipwhip sends and receives texts using your existing landline, VoIP, or toll-free number – not your personal cell.
  2. Text conversations in Zipwhip can be easily saved in PDF format and stored in the client file. Using cloud-based practice management software? Automate this step with Zapier.
  3. Any authorized person can login to the Zipwhip desktop app to send or receive messages, allowing improved access to client communications. Out of the office? Use the mobile app.
  4. Appointment reminders or other messages can be scheduled in advance using built-in templates. Auto replies and group texting are also available.
  5. Take advantage of the unlimited contacts feature to easily add important details to contact cards. Search for individuals or groups.
  6. Integrate texting into your firm website by adding a “click to text” button for clients.
  7. Easily receive (and file) photos sent by clients, investigators, or experts.

Security

Security is always a concern with client communication. Zipwhip offers data encryption in transit and at rest. It also conforms with federal opt-out requirements, includes support for eDiscovery, and offers monitoring for spam and phishing messages. Like most services operating in the cloud, there may be occasions when Zipwhip has access to your content or data. Read the terms of service.

Pricing

Zipwhip plans start at $35 per month. Annual plans are also available. Request a free  trial here. All you need is a verifiable (working) phone number. There is no hardware to install and no need to contact your current phone provider.

Alternatives

If you want to compare Zipwhip to other business texting services, check out these resources: TextUs vs. Zipwhip, Zipwhip’s Competitors, Revenue, Number of Employees, Funding, and Acquisitions, and Top 30 Zipwhip Alternatives.

Final Thoughts

Business texting offers a huge advantage over personal texting. Consider implementing a solution like Zipwhip, or one of its competitors, to protect your privacy, improve access to client communication, and ensure preservation of messages.

Rest assured, this is not a paid endorsement of any kind. I’ve been a fan of this product going on three years, ever since I first read Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites blog post.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

 

On Demand CLE – eService, Technology, Fee Agreements, and More

It has been a busy three years at Oregon Law Practice Management! If you missed Technology Tips for Busy Legal Professionals, Practical Time Management, or any of my other recent CLEs, then a visit to the online store is in order.

Check the list below for the latest additions to my on demand CLE offerings. While you’re there, download my free eBook, Tips for Improving Client Relationships.

NEW TO ON DEMAND CLE

CURRENT CLE

Cost

All programs are $25. Every on demand CLE purchase includes:

  • MP4 download (combined audio and video file)
  • M4a download (audio only)
  • Written program materials, including presentation slides and resources
  • Answers to polling questions asked during the live CLE
  • MCLE Form 6 for self-reporting of MCLE credits

OSB ACCREDITATION

All programs are current and accredited by the Oregon State Bar.  Visit the online store for details.

LISTEN OR WATCH FROM THE CLOUD, YOUR MOBILE DEVICE, OR COMPUTER

At checkout, save your MP4 and M4a downloads to your Dropbox accountKindle, or other device.

Secure payment processing

All transactions are handled by Selz and protected with industry standard security, including encryption and SSL secure. The Selz platform is also PCI compliant. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover accepted.

All Rights Reserved 2019 – Beverly Michaelis