by Scott Levine (bio), Managing Member of AEGIS Law
When a law firm provides an environment where all employees enjoy spending their time, the practice thrives. However, far too many firms fall down on the job when it comes to creating an inspiring work environment. By focusing more on higher billables instead of office culture, firms are missing out on one of the greatest opportunities to retain talent and attract more high-value clients.
If you want to give your attorneys what they need to create extraordinary results, then here are 5 key elements to creating and maintaining a thriving law firm culture.
Commit To A Mission
Some of the fastest growing companies today are purpose driven. While generating revenue, companies like Toms shoes [www.toms.com] and Warby Parker [www.warbyparker.com] strive to create positive change in the communities they serve and in the world. These companies infuse their altruistic missions in every aspect of their business, and in doing so, they create raving fans and loyal, happy employees.
People want to participate in something bigger than themselves, and legal professionals are no different. Many attorneys went to law school with the hope of finding a job with a company that serves a bigger mission, but the financial demands after law school may have caused many of them to put those ambitions on the backburner. By committing to a broader purpose, firms have an opportunity to bring back that purpose in the lives of their associates.
Law practice missions do not have to be complicated, but there has to be commitment. This means carrying that mission through the firm’s brand, policies, and procedures.
Align Firm Values with Firm Policies
Almost every attorney will tell you that they are looking for the same thing when it comes to law firm culture: [https://www.chambers-associate.com/where-to-start/commercial-awareness/what-makes-a-biglaw-firms-culture-good-or-bad] helpful colleagues, work/life balance, clear communication, teamwork, diversity, and career development opportunities. Although all firms claim to provide this type of culture, most only pay lip service to the actual implementation of these values in their offices.
Firms with 2500-hour billable requirements do not support work-life balance. Similarly, practices with no minority attorneys are not committed to diversity. To create a culture where both partners and associates thrive, the practice’s policies and procedures must align with stated values.
Communication and Management
Even though senior attorneys eventually become partners, they don’t always make the best managers or communicators. In firms today you’ll find that some associates are drowning in work while others are looking assignments. Moreover, young attorneys find themselves working around the clock to complete tasks yet are still unsure if they are meeting partner expectations. Finally, senior attorneys and partners often feel too busy with their own caseloads to provide any meaningful critique or management.
A thriving law firm culture fills those gaps. Culturally sound firms balance attorney workloads and provide appropriate mechanisms for giving and receiving feedback. They also separate the management of the firm and its people from client work. In doing so, partners and senior staff can focus on serving their clients instead of other practice management concerns.
Another core element of law firms with a thriving office culture is autonomy. Firms that are committed to bringing out the best in their employees know that micromanagement isn’t the way to get there. Instead, these firms focus on providing the resources their attorneys need to serve their clients in the manner that they see fit.
The final element of a thriving practice culture is transparency. Now more than ever, people want honest and open communication with their employers and colleagues. They want to work for organizations that strive to dismantle the “good old boys” network in favor of more inclusive and open about its practices.
The best law firms recognize this trend. They focus on being transparent when it comes to firm decisions, policies, and rules. They also encourage greater attorney involvement in the decision-making process.
If you’d like to learn more about how our unique approach to legal services can help your business thrive, send us a message or call AEGIS Law at (314) 454-9100 x 101. Or, you can reach Scott Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org.