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Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 34, No. 1, February 2013

Message from the Guest EditorBy Neil Pedersen

Neil Pedersen

As attorneys, our time is limited. There is only so much productive time in a day. And the attorney’s time has special value – value that client will pay good money to access. Therefore, it does not make sense for attorneys to spend time doing tasks that others whose time is less objectively valuable can do. Thus, the employee.

Whether we employ office staff to carry out administrative tasks, or paralegals, law clerks or associate attorneys to perform legal services, once a single employee is hired, that attorney takes on panoply of additional legal responsibilities. It implicates a whole new area of law over which the attorney may have no real knowledge or experience. In addition to being a lawyer, a marketer, and a business manager, the attorney becomes an employer.

This edition of The Bottom Line focuses on the “Attorney as Employer.” Like all other businesses small and large, law firms need to assure compliance with the several dozen employment laws and regulations that regulate employment. It is all the more important here in California where the laws tend to be far more protective of employees and restrictive on employers. Many of the statutory schemes will apply to any employers, even of just one employee. Others apply to employers of five or more employees. Many more apply to employers of twenty-five or fifty or more. It is important to have someone in the firm, or outside employment counsel, to identify all of the applicable statutes and regulations, and to then carry out that which is necessary to assure compliance.

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