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Top 10 Mistakes in Employee Handbooks

employee handbookMany companies and law firms do not see the value in Employee Handbooks. However, a Handbook is a key to the success of your business. It lays out the ownership of the company, what is expected of an employee, who is in charge of management, whom to contact in various situations an employee may encounter, and serves as a guide to firm culture and commitment to employees. Unfortunately, when implementing Handbooks, we see ten top mistakes in law firms.


  1. Adopting a “form” handbook. Form templates could include statements and promises you will never keep and may not accommodate each state’s laws.
  2. Not being consistent with other company documents and forms.
  3. Including lots of detail on processes and procedures. Stick to company policies and rules and keep a separate Procedures Manual for managers and another for staff.
  4. Setting unrealistic policies. Do not put something you know your managers will not enforce in your Handbook.
  5. Including an employee probationary period which can erase an at-will status by implying that the employee is in the clear for permanent employment once the period is over.
  6. Being too specific in your discipline policy gives employees the impression that it covers every possible infraction.
  7. Making statements that contradict disclaimers which opens up liability to the Firm and provides fodder for employment lawyers.
  8. Failing to include an at-will acknowledgment. Have employees sign a disclaimer acknowledging that the company can terminate the employment at any time, for any reason, and bypass any discipline procedures.
  9. Failing to update the Handbook often to comply with state and federal laws and any new company policies.
  10. Failing to obtain signed acknowledgments from employees of Handbook receipt and placing the signed original in personnel files.

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If your company needs guidance about establishing a functioning and successful human resources department or in need of a Legal Administrator/Office Manager to professionally run your business, contact Monzingo Legal for advice on law firm management.


Monzingo Legal Consulting

Mary Beth Link, Certified Personnel Consultant

239-770-8823 |


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Contact Information

Mary Beth Monzingo Link
(239) 770-8823 Direct | (800) 213-0991 Fax