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Creating a ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ Culture

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In the legal field, “work hard, play hard” has become “work hard, work harder all other times.” Even though many law firms offer generous leave policies, attorneys often skip vacations or work while on vacation. While this dedication is admirable, it has led attorneys to have more alcohol and mental health problems than other professionals.

The good news is that law firms are starting to recognize lawyers who do not take enough vacations end up with increase in sick time and a decrease in production. After all, you can only stretch a rubber band so far before it snaps. The issue seems to be on how to get a “type A personality”, typical of many attorneys, to put away their briefcases and focus on themselves. But because the problem starts in the firm, maybe that is where the change needs to begin.

Get Serious About Vacations

Play Hard

A firm should create a culture that advocates and reinforces that attorneys, and support staff, take regular scheduled vacations. When law firm administrators make mandatory vacations part of their policy, attorneys will be less apprehensive in taking time off. Their concerns or worries of losing their seniority or be taken off a case will decrease. This will help them truly enjoy their vacation and let them recharge their batteries, so to speak. Ultimately, this will lead to attorneys with higher productivity, a good asset for any law firm.

If long vacations are not always possible, attorneys should be encouraged and allowed to take short vacations or other short breaks throughout the year. Even a day off can make a big difference in a person’s emotional and physical health. Other considerations that may help reduce stress include flex time or allowing the attorney to work from home.

Young Attorneys Attuned to
Health and Wellness

Compartmentalize

Law firm administrators may also have a more receptive audience when it comes to health and wellness issues with young attorneys. According to an article on the topic of attorney wellness in Bloomberg Law, younger lawyers seem willing to leave firms that don’t permit them enough downtime.  This perhaps is an encouraging sign that wellness will play an important role when choosing a law firm for the long run. Law firms should take notice of the need for downtime as to not lose potential stars to firms who are receptive to attorney wellness. Subscribe to the Leopard Blog for discussions on diversity, law firm insights, and other relevant topics.

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