You and the other lawyer should audit your procedures, especially the way you check for conflicts of interests. There are a number of resources available via the Member Services/PRI web page under Starting Your Own Practice. Also, please check out the ABA Bookstore (see below). The best approach is to meet frequently to discuss the ways you each process work and then resolve the differences. Actually, this sounds like fun! Insofar as you practice together, you both have to possess a general working knowledge of how the other processes cases/work. This combined knowledge and the process decisions you will make is critical knowledge to share with your staff.
For example: when gathering information for conflict checking, the business law attorney would ask certain questions including the names of spouses of officers and directors -- usually not important to the family law attorney. The family law attorney would ask very different questions including all the surnames ever used by the adults involved and all the surnames the children have ever had -- these questions are usually irrelevant to the business law attorney. So, a close examination of your intake forms is necessary and surely some staff training in conflict checking.
It is a good idea to at least consider attending some overview/update Florida Bar CLE courses in each other's practice area. The Florida Bar offers many such CLE courses for free, that also earn CLE credits. There are others that are also priced very reasonably, that can be viewed in your office. You want to have enough knowledge of each other's practice so that if one of you is absent, and a client places an urgent call for the absent lawyer, the other lawyer can at least field the phone call. All the client knows is that there is a lawyer in the office. (Remember, the old stage theatre question "Is there a doctor in the house?" No one in the audience, including the sick person, gives a thought as to what kind of doctor may be sitting in the audience.)
Processes the two of you should review include, but are not limited to:
· Incoming and Outgoing Mail.
· Reception (Business Law and Family Law clients in the same reception room for too long could be problem)
· Scanning procedures including document naming standards (I assume you will maintain your documents in separate drives)
· Billing standards (Not all clients are billed hourly. However, in order to properly produce/analyze productivity and profitability reports, you two should have a serious discussion on timekeeping policies).
Another helpful tool is the Annual Law Office Check Up. It is located on the PRI web page. When reviewing the Check Up, discuss the questions and answer how each of you would prefer the procedures involved to be handled.