Lawyers constantly receive training in the form of CLE. However, training staff members in the day-to-day running of a law office is no less important to a successful practice. Nobody comes into a law firm knowing everything. Ongoing reminders and documented procedures are needed for employees to learn new things, retain information, and correct mistakes.
On this episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, host Michael Cowen speaks with his fellow partner and trial attorney Malorie Peacock about how, why, and when to train employees at every level of the firm, from clerks and receptionists to paralegals and litigators.
Tune in to hear Michael and Malorie discuss their approach to training at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock and lessons they’ve learned through years of training “trial and error”. Every office trains differently, but as they point out, there are some starting points and areas of emphasis that can help every firm implement a training program that is mission-focused and effective.
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Name: Malorie J Peacock
About: Malorie J Peacock is a Partner at Cowen Rodriguez Peacock. She was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and received her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. During her time with Cowen Rodriguez Peacock, Malorie has worked on numerous commercial vehicle, trucking, and wrongful death cases. Malorie brings close attention to detail, commitment to finding safety issues and areas of neglect, continued utilization of technology and cutting-edge visuals in cases, along with a sincere passion to help those who have been hurt, to each and every case.
Company: Cowen Rodriguez Peacock
[02:57] Employees aren’t psychic: People can’t read your mind, and memory is fallible. Tell them how you want things done in a clear manner that they can remember.
[05:57] Starting point: It can be overwhelming to figure out training priorities. Start with where training is needed the most.
[09:02] Different procedures for different team members: Everybody–from the receptionist to partner level attorneys–needs training, but it should be tailored to the audience.
[11:30] The human touch: Even when it’s written down or recorded, training should be presented in-person to maximize effectiveness.
[15:13] Train. Retrain. Repeat: Training isn’t a one-off. Retraining helps lessons stick and allows errors to be diagnosed and corrected.
[16:51] Identifying training topics: When mistakes or something new happens, training is typically required. It’s also important to ask people, at every level, what they would like to be trained on.
[22:58] Quality control: While trial lawyers are often comfortable giving training to their coworkers, it’s not necessarily a strength of everyone in the office. There needs to be quality control to ensure training has the desired outcome.
[26:29] Train early and often: Training should take place regularly, as soon as a firm has staff members. Waiting too long to start can make bad habits harder to break.
[27:50] Outside resources: Sometimes, the trainers need training. Outside consultants and resources can provide valuable insights to internal team members. Don’t assume you know everything about everything.
[30:15] Lesson learned?: To get the most out of training, implement a system that can assess whether the lesson imparted is the lesson received so corrections can be made.
[32:19] Radical candor: Be direct and truthful with people while maintaining respect and compassion for them.
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In this popular and award-winning podcast for trial lawyers, noteworthy author, sought-after speaker, and renowned trial lawyer, Michael Cowen explores critical topics distinctive to the legal profession with some of the biggest names in the industry – specifically focused on developing extremely efficient law practices, securing a competitive edge in the industry, and wildly excelling in the courtroom.