Our attention went from increasing staff engagement yesterday to dating attorneys at the firm today. Dating co-workers has always been a sticky situation at law firms, particularly if the staff member dates a senior associate or a partner. The #MeToo movement has encouraged many women to reveal their stories of sexual harassment, particularly of men in power but despite all the claims of sexual harassment, interoffice dating still happens and a law firm may be more problematic to sort out versus other professional organizations. Some of the reasons is the structure of many law firms as well as ethical issues that may come into play.
There is a saying 'Happy wife, happy life.' The same holds true for employees and legal staffers worldwide. Regardless of your type of firm and/or rank, you can attract and retain great talent by creating a culture that promotes employee productivity, comradery, and well-being. If law firms better considered the long hours that attorneys and their support staff spend together, employee engagement would be a greater priority. When firms take steps to engage employees, they are able to retain valuable talent, which in turn saves the firm the high cost of attrition.
To some extent, all attorneys and all law firms are using technology as part of their day-to-day life. While the industry is making strides to become more technologically advanced while also resisting at the same time, what many fail to realize is that lawyers are already using a virtual office or a virtual assistant. Like most people today, attorneys carry a smartphone and even a tablet or iPad. Because of this available technology and all this connectivity, attorneys can conduct legal research and check in with staff almost anywhere. So, it is not surprising that the next logical step is a virtual office. However, as with any new concept, there are pros and cons to consider. Operating a virtual law office means that traditional brick-and-mortar offices are done away with, but options still do remain.
Sounds strange, but boredom at work can be the very motivator you need to get ahead in your career. However, it is important to understand boredom with the tasks you are completing and being absolutely over your job. They are very different. Knowing the difference is integral. But even if you are new to the legal field or have been lawyering for 30 years, there will be times that you will be bored at work regardless of how much you love the law. Whether you call it “paying your dues” or “a rite of passage,” it will happen, but there are ways to take advantage.
Every profession has its own challenges. Whether in construction, software development or internal medicine, all professionals face challenging situations on a daily basis. In addition to the usual complexities common to every legal practitioner, one is often underestimated: the ethical burden.
Stress and performance have become such a serious problem that in 2015, former Chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Law Practice Division Tom Bolt successfully advocated for the creation of a new Attorney Well-Being Committee. Because of this committee, ABA president Hilarie Bass formed a Presidential Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession.
Legal professionals have existed for centuries defending the ideals of the written law and legal precedents. Since the beginning of time attorneys have been the voice of justice for those without a voice of their own advocating for people and their rights. It is a proven fact that lawyers suffer from tremendous stress, outrageous weekly schedules and a great amount of anxiety. These circumstances have driven law school students and young lawyers away from litigation or working for big law firms. The promise of big paychecks and the possibility of having their last name on the door does not have the same seducing effect as before. Lawyers are now disrupting several industries as they do not have the dream of being part of the Biglaw sector.
Being a lawyer means dealing with client's problems, facing challenges even in the simplest of cases, battling other attorneys as well as a slow-moving judicial system. It is hard to imagine how someone working in this type of environment can find personal happiness and career satisfaction. Short of quitting the law, there are reasonable steps most attorneys can take to bring calm to their hectic lives. Because the goal of wellness at work is not to make your career something out of a Disney movie, but to create happiness and peace in your environment.
Many of us grow up watching great shows like Suits, Goliath, How To Get Away With Murder, to name a few. These television shows, while entertaining, show the most exciting parts of working on a case. These attorneys wear fierce suits, the women run around in heels all day, and they make it look super exciting. But aside from the glamour, the expensive suits and outrageous timepieces, legal practice inside the biggest and most prestigious law firms are far from whatever Shonda Rhimes' beautiful mind shows us. These shows brainwashed many with the idea that working at one of these firms is a dream come true.
We don't have to say we're great because you already know it. The topic is old, tired and has has been served for decades. We do it all and you know it. There is nothing further that can be said about gender equality in business and in the legal world. Instead of taking a stand, the following highlights the unique traits and approach that women bring to the legal industry.