Doug Wolfe is co-founder and managing partner of Wolfe Pincavage, a boutique law firm in Miami, Florida. Wolfe shares his advice and insights on developing a book of business, mentorship, and recruiting and onboarding new talent as we move into a post-pandemic environment.

Doug Wolfe. Doug Wolfe. Courtesy photo

How can associates develop an action strategy and build their book of business? While virtual work brings some challenges for everyone, resources like LinkedIn and webinars provide a forum for ongoing engagement. However, the core tenets of building a book of business remain: Develop expertise in something that can be marketed; identify the audience and where/how they connect; and create business plans with executable goals.

In your opinion what are some effective strategies firm leaders implemented to increase mentorship and visibility opportunities for young associates? No matter if it’s a boutique or large firm, the true depth of experience cannot be found in a textbook. Rather, it is the human element that inaugurates a good attorney.

As Wolfe Pincavage is a boutique firm, we assign young associates to a partner, who serves as their primary mentor in an organic manner. This provides an opportunity to connect with the most experienced peers, working hand-in-hand on “real life” matters.

Yet the partner cannot only drive the mentorship; if associates want a voice, they need to be proactive and engage senior attorneys with questions and utilize them as a resource to gain the wealth of knowledge they seek.

How have firms avoided cutting staff positions to lighten payroll expenses of jobs that didn’t have analogous work in the virtual environment? We are different than most firms, as our business model is designed to operate leanly and efficiently for our clients, which has allowed us to manage the virtual environment well. The structure or workload didn’t change during the shift to virtual, and management maintained the mentality that team members would be retrained if any shifts were necessary, whether technically or on other legal matters, in order to maintain good staff who are part of our firm culture.

What are a few best practices for recruiting and onboarding new talent in a predominantly remote environment? We view Zoom video interviews as more productive than a masked-up, in-person meeting. In the former situation, you more easily read facial expressions and avoid any uncomfortable pandemic-driven circumstances. It is critical to be very transparent when presenting open positions, noting in the job posting whether the office is virtual, in-person, hybrid, etc. Not everyone performs well virtually, thus, the forthcoming notice that a virtual environment is required, in many instances, may deter someone to apply if he/she cannot deliver. Be upfront about the workplace expectations. We hired three attorneys virtually during COVID-19 and the process has been fluid, with these newer members working well.

For more career success stories, check out the “How I Made It” Q&A series on Law.com.  

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