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Lawyers: A Law Firm's Greatest Asset

Who finds the business serviced by a law firm? Lawyers. Who minds the business serviced by a law firm? Lawyers. Who grinds the business serviced by a law firm? Lawyers. Notice the trend?

And lawyers who are not well, are not nearly as effective as lawyers who are well-- if your own common sense doesn't lead you to that obvious conclusion, you might want to refer to the Report generated by the National Task Force for Lawyer Well-Being ("NTF"). The Report (which is available, online) is really quite good-- it's well organized, and very thorough.

So what, exactly, is well-being? As defined by the NTF, it's several things, but first and foremost, well-being is continuous. One can be well for a day, or a week, or a month-- even for a year, or more. Then, because of external events or other personal changes, one can suddenly not be well. That's something we've all experienced.

Aside from first addressing the continuous nature of well-being, the NTF goes on to identify six different aspects of life experience that can bear upon one's sense of well-being: Occupational, Intellectual, Social, Spiritual, Physical and Emotional. Thriving-- or struggling-- in any one or more of those areas, will obviously impact one's sense of well-being. The notion of well-being is not a vague, opaque or mystical calculation.

So, why do so many law firm leaders fail to zealously protect and prioritize their lawyers' well-being? Since I no longer count myself among their number, that's not a question for me to answer. As the former member of a law firm Management Committee and practicing attorney for almost 40 years, however, I am qualified to ask the question. And ask, I will.

Granted, the COVID pandemic has thrown everyone for a loop, and the introduction of a new budget line item for a Director of Well-Being or start-up of a well-being program, at a time when there is so much uncertainty about future revenue, will make the decision to address well-being difficult, but it's not impossible. And the prioritization of well-being is precisely what leaders of the legal profession need to be focused on-- right now.

It's time for law firm leaders to recognize-- and take care of-- their number one asset!


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