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ANALYSIS: Want to Magnify Profits? Focus on Lawyer Well-Being.

May 14, 2021, 9:01 AM

It is no secret that lawyers are stressed, and that there is often little respite from the realities that deteriorate their well-being. But this is a problem for more than just the lawyers themselves.

The financial well-being of an organization is also at stake when its employees’ well-being is in question. A 2019 London School of Economics analysis of more than 300 studies concluded that employee well-being and business unit profitability are positively correlated.

Considering this, organizations with attorneys on the payroll should consider well-being when implementing new practices, policies, and processes, lest they risk losing both human capital and actual capital. But it may be difficult to know where to start.

The best place to begin is where lawyers say their biggest pain points are. Results from Bloomberg Law’s Attorney Workload and Hours Survey indicate that 85% of respondents said they have experienced burnout at their current job. To compound this, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they have experienced somewhat decreased or greatly decreased well-being due to the ongoing pandemic.

Luckily, there are a few actions that firms can take immediately to improve well-being in the face of these challenges:

  • Promote employee engagement by creating a collaborative environment in which employees from different organizational levels and with different job titles work and socialize together.
  • Prioritize staffing projects appropriately so that lawyers are not overworked and overburdened by their professional responsibilities.
  • Encourage unplugged vacations to help lawyers disconnect.
  • Allow for flexible workdays or work-from-home days, so employees have more flexibility between their personal and professional lives.
  • Adopt policies that foster diversity and inclusion, so employees feel welcome and safe at their place of work.
  • Provide feedback to lawyers on their work and acknowledge and praise a job well done.
  • Start a health and wellness program to help to promote healthy habits.

Investments in programs and processes that promote lawyer well-being should be considered as potential improvements to an organization’s bottom line. Taking such steps will make your organization a better place to work—and it may also boost your profits.

Bloomberg Law has free resources available in our In Focus: Lawyer Well-Being page, including links to assistance programs.

Bloomberg Law subscribers can find more on effective project management in our In Focus: Legal Operations page, and on the Attorney Workload and Hours survey in our Surveys, Reports & Data Analysis page.

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