Solo practitioners must pay attention to practice’s growing needs

By Staff

Recognizing the need to grow the administrative side of a practice is all part of running and managing a successful firm, St. Catharines family lawyer and mediator Sharon Silbert tells Lawyers Weekly.

For Silbert, a solo practitioner, the opportunity to hire another staff member arose at the perfect time earlier this year, when a second-year law student looking to gain practical experience approached her, resumé in hand.

“Clients would come by to drop things off or pick things up and I’d be in a meeting with another client,” Silbert tells Lawyers Weekly. “It was getting a little awkward and becoming apparent that I needed another physical presence in the office.”

While the student was only available for three months, the experience gave Silbert the opportunity to gauge how much work she actually has for a full-time staff member.

Hiring the student was “a great opportunity not only for her to get a sense of what it’s like to practise family law, but also for me to have somebody help me,” says Silbert.

“When it comes time for me to hire someone permanently … I’ll know what I need and what type of hours will make sense.”

Silbert was also able to take heed of what she needs in a staff member, with good organizational and time-management skills, a sharp eye for detail, and the ability to help maintain an office environment that’s comfortable yet professional being at the top of the list.

Since being interviewed by Lawyers Weekly, Silbert has in fact hired a permanent legal administrative assistant, and she has already started to enjoy the benefits that an increasingly organized and well-delegated office allow.