Creating A Firm Culture of Care, Balance, and Wellness
Hiring, Staffing, and Growing a Law Firm
8 min read
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It’s tough to admit, but we know too many law firm work environments known for making team members sick and miserable. Lawyer mental health is too often an afterthought.
Lawyers and legal staff suffer from higher rates of mental illnesses, stress, and substance abuse than those in other professions. Law firms also create competitive environments where team members might even work against each other to maximize personal gain. This is not the environment you want to create for your law firm.
You want to be an excellent manager and offer good career paths for the people in your law firm. You want to create a positive work culture where people trust each other and are happy to be at work. This isn’t just good for morale, it’s good for business. When employees see employers that are invested in them, they will reward them in several ways.
You want to create a healthy, employee-oriented culture that supports self-care and wellness. Lawyer mental health is a major concern for the legal professional. Creating a law firm culture that supports individuals is key.
Here are some ways to create a great law firm culture:
Your firm’s environment should value each individual for their contributions and do what it takes to make them feel comfortable. If you’re intentional about law firm diversity in your hiring, that’s great. But that is only half of the complete picture. The second piece is staying committed to diversity in your law firm once applicants become a part of your team by making sure everyone feels welcome.
Here are a handful of tips to help you create a welcoming work environment within your firm:
The legal profession has not appropriately represented the entire population for far too long. Thankfully, that’s changing. For the past several years, women have outnumbered men in law school classrooms. But, gender diversity is only the beginning.
These stats show the importance of diversity and inclusion in your law firm. By failing to take action, you’re ignoring your clients’ and team members’ needs for safety and feeling welcome. Your firm must have a stance on the values of inclusion and how you plan to implement them into marketing, hiring, and client service.
Diversity refers to the individuality of people. For example, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, socio-economic status, identity, and age are all diversity factors.
To be inclusive as a law firm, you respect, accept, advocate access, and welcome individual clients and team members for who they are from the inside out.
It’s past time for law firms to consider what being inclusive means for their firms. As a lawyer, you must be more cognizant of this and what this means for your team and clients. You must adapt your marketing, strategy, and legal services, as necessary, to accommodate for better law firm diversity.
At Lawyerist, we believe issues of inclusion must be a part of the conversation about your firm values. Your values ?drive your firm forward. They’re the key factors in the decisions you make, such as whether to take on a case or who to hire next. Inclusivity must be part of your values to ensure it’s a part of your law firm’s culture.
As you live that value, you’ll keep inclusivity practices top of mind. When you create job postings, you’ll emphasize them. When you redesign your website, you’ll use diverse stock photos. Every move you make will have inclusivity as a motivating factor. Addressing law firm diversity should be part of your ongoing, active, and part of your strategy.
As mentioned above, one in every four US adults has a disability that interferes with daily life. It’s important to remember that disabilities come in many forms. For example, hearing, vision, cognition, movement, communication, and mental health are within accessibility standards.
What is accessibility? It’s making every aspect of your law firm as easily accessible as possible. You must consider everything about your law firm, from your website to office space.
There are many resources available to help you enhance your firm’s accessibility, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and the American Bar Association’s resources. If you have a physical office space, you should also ensure you’re ADA compliant.
You must think differently about inclusivity to truly grasp its importance. It’s time to make a serious effort to put yourself in different shoes, as they say. If you were to lose your eyesight tomorrow, how would that change the way you do business? If you were to become paralyzed from the waist-down tomorrow, how would it change your expectations of other businesses? Take what you discover and make positive changes within your firm for improved law firm diversity.
We believe it’s up to each law firm to help improve access to justice for all who require the justice system’s support. Access to justice is one of the most troubling issues stemming from diversity.
It isn’t simply about lowering your fees. It’s about communicating value, so your potential clients feel like their investment is worth it. You should use technology to support clients who need help with simple tasks at reasonable prices. Although access to justice is a complex problem to solve, any movement forward is a step in the right direction.
Yes, diversity and inclusivity take intentional work, reflection, and dedication. We understand this is hard, but you don’t have to be 100% in a month or even a year. All you have to do is take active and thoughtful steps toward improving diversity and inclusion in your firm.
There’s nothing like the first time you realize you can focus your energy on [fill in the blank], and your business and clients will be ok because your amazing team has things under control. It’s possible to build your team with the right people and give them the tools to succeed. Ready to learn how having the right systems is an essential next step as you build your business?