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CLO's Can Be Leaders In Lawyer Wellbeing

I was recently scrolling through LinkedIn (my guilty pleasure), and I came across a posting from the ACC that grabbed my attention: "As the role of business in society evolves, chief legal officers [CLO's] should reposition to influence legal and beyond [my emphasis] .... CLO's are becoming leading agents of positive impact".

Imagine that. Law firm leaders might actually learn something from their clients! What a concept. Schooling law firm management is probably not part of a CLO's job description, but in matters related to important and timely concerns like lawyer wellbeing, CLO leadership would be reflect sound corporate policy.

There's ample precedent for such a proposition, and it wouldn't require all that much on the part of CLO's. Just as many corporate clients already include inquiries about a bidding law firm's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in their Requests for Proposal, it would be simple enough to include an inquiry about a law firm's commitment to the wellbeing of it's lawyers.

Such an inquiry would likely be consistent with existing policies of the corporation-at-large, and would certainly be relevant to the quality of the legal representation that the client might expect from a law firm. Additionally, in the broader business world, the value of "doing the right thing" is widely recognized and routinely touted-- sadly, that is not the case for many law firms.

The Pledge to support lawyer wellbeing is, I suppose, a necessary first step but pledging to do something is not the same thing as actually doing it. And, as far as I know, there are little to no meaningful consequences, if the Pledge is not backed up with real action.

Maybe if law firms were asked to document their commitment and face the prospect of not being able to effectively compete for business, they'd be more proactive in promoting/supporting the wellbeing of their lawyers!


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