Hire Right

Hire Right

Some of the hardest things I had to do as a boss was to hire an employee.  I didn’t know how to hire.  I mean, I never hired anyone in my life; I was always an employee, never an employer.

When I first started my own law firm, it was just me.  I did it all.  I did not have a secretary, I did not have a paralegal; it was just me and my computer.  Thank God I took typing in high school.  It was one of the best decisions I made in my life.

But, I was okay with doing it all; besides, I was used to long grueling basketball work outs that felt like an eternity!  Hard work does pay off!

Playing basketball
My basketball days at Stanford University.

But soon, I found myself working nearly 18 hours a day, every day.  Yes, weekends too.  I was getting tired and my work was consuming me.

I started to think about who could help me and who do I need hire?  What position do I need, a secretary, another lawyer, a paralegal, who?  I didn’t know.

So, I worked through it in my mind and started to ask myself some questions.

Questions I asked myself

What position am I looking to fill?  Do I want/need a secretary?  Why?  Is this who I need to hire at this stage?  I didn’t have any answers.  Did not have a clue.  But, I thought a secretary would be good, they can help me organize things, file paperwork, answer the phone, and maybe type up some things for me when I was out of the office, etc.

First Hire

So, I hired my first employee!  A secretary!  Yay!

Hire Secretary - Typewriter

Well, at this time in my career I had one office, and so I shared my office with the secretary.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I work best when I am alone, in my own room, quiet and nobody talking to me.  But then I realized, it wasn’t being in the same office with the secretary that bothered me, it was the fact that I was working harder than ever just to give the secretary work to do so she could stay busy.  Say what?  I hired her to take the work off my plate, not to put more on it.

I didn’t have a Dictaphone and so I wasn’t able to have her type up any documents.  Should have thought about that before I hired a secretary.  And because she was so efficient at filing and everything else I gave her, once she was done, I had to come up with something else for her to do.  I would be sitting behind my desk saying to myself, I hope she slows down, I hope she slows down, slow down!   Now, I know that was not good for me.

And at the same time I was saying “slow down” to myself, I was thinking, what can I give her next to do?  I was spinning my wheels just to come up with projects.  And, the worst part of it all – I was not focusing on what I needed to do for my law firm clients.

I became consumed.  I became obsessed.  This was not good.  This was bad, bad, bad.

I realized I had hired wrong.  I hired, not the wrong person, she was great.  I hired the wrong position.  It was a painful mistake and process, because I had to let her go, and she didn’t deserve that.

Now, I still need help.  So, I decided to look at someone who could help me with the law.  I thought, well, I could hire a lawyer, but I am not sure I can afford a lawyer at this stage.  So, I’ll hire a paralegal.

Second Hire

So, I hired my second employee!  A paralegal!  Yay!

Paralegals are amazing and brilliant people; they are very knowledgeable.  There was just one minor problem for me, I did securities legal work, a highly specialized area of the law.  I took companies public on the start market (IPOs), did reverse mergers, private placements and the like.  Well, paralegals typically are not trained in this area of law.  Well, most attorneys aren’t either, but be that as it may.

Stock market graph

The paralegal I hired had no background or education in this field of law.  It never dawned on me to read her resume, I just figured, great a paralegal!  Wrong!  I made my second mistake in hiring, not the wrong person, but the wrong position.  Again, I had to face my wrongs and let the paralegal go, another bad day in my career.

I still need help!

Third Hire

I was finally getting it.  I was finally realizing who it was I needed to hire, who it was who could help me.

Hire - Back to work

And yes, I am sure you guessed it by now.   An attorney! 

Well, it wasn’t a fun journey, but I learned a lot.   I finally realized what position I was looking for.   And then after I did, I was able to look for and hire the right person. 

And, yes, it happened.  I finally made the right decision.  I finally hired for the right position.  I hired my first attorney!  Yay!

And soon thereafter, I hired my second attorney and then my third. 

And life was good.

Kauai mountain and sea

BizandTravelBlog.com is published by Virginia K. Sourlis, an attorney licensed in the state of New Jersey. This site does not provide legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. This should not be considered legal advice. You should seek an attorney for your own situation. This website is for informational purposes only. Any and all views and opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Virginia’s law firm. BizandTravelBlog.com is not associated with any organization, group or institution, unless otherwise specifically noted.
I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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