Written by Katy Goshtasbi
Posted on: June 14, 2023
Happier attorneys with better health are more confident, less likely to miss work or leave their job. Confident lawyers bring in better clients who stay longer and pay better.
Conversely, under-represented lawyers often feel left out and not valued, suffer from 41% more stress and lower self confidence. Lawyers with high stress are at greater risk of depression, self harm, attrition and likely to consider suicide 22% more.
Wellness, diversity and inclusion at your firm aren’t just a “good cause” or trendy buzzwords, but vital drivers of your firm’s viability and revenue growth. Period.
This isn’t often a consideration in the fast paced world of law firms. I should know. In my career as a lawyer, I worked in many fast paced legal environments. No one stopped to consider my health beyond getting the ergonomics of my office correct.
But what about my mental and physical health? And what about how I felt when I was the ONLY woman lawyer in the room about 85% of the time? I can tell you I often felt lonely, isolated, not seen nor heard. It impacted my billables and interactions. I tried desperately to fit in, choosing to wear pant suits and putting my hair in a bun, reading the sports pages so I could entertain our male clientele and so on.
This went on until the day my doctor told me that my stress was too high and that I needed to stop practicing law. Stop practicing? After putting myself through law school as a single woman, who would pay my bills?!
In the end, I did stop practicing law. I made the best decision for myself. Your employees and your health matter. Lawyers are not as easily replaceable as we’d like to think when we burn out. We often don’t talk about the pain and isolation and fears that plague us. We don’t want others to know or judge us.
You don’t have to give up revenues for health and diversity. There’s a harmony that can be struck easily. You just have to stop, assess your situation and ask for support.
“Generating more revenues and keeping your legal staff healthy and in place with a thriving and diverse culture is easier than you think.”
We all know how costly it is to a law firm when lawyers leave and need to be replaced. There are recruiting costs to find an adequate replacement and training costs once a new lawyer is hired.There are productivity costs when a lawyer’s workload may need to be redistributed among the remaining lawyers, which can result in decreased productivity and longer hours for everyone involved. This can also cause delays in delivering work to clients, which can damage the law firm’s reputation and result in lost business. Lastly, there is institutional knowledge loss which a lawyer takes with them when they leave a firm, making it more difficult for the remaining lawyers to serve clients effectively and efficiently.
Did you know?
• Associate attrition rates are close to 25%. Attrition of minority lawyers is at 34%.
• For every 20 lawyers hired in a firm, 15 lawyers leave within 6 years.
• Lawyers who reported high stress levels were 22 times more likely to experience thoughts of suicide than lawyers with low stress.
• Job stress costs U.S. employers more than USD 300 billion annually and may cause 120,000 excess deaths each year.
• Unhappy lawyers may stay at their firm, but work inefficiently and contribute to toxic cultures where the inefficiency spreads.
• Law firms can get “canceled” for lack of diversity, thereby losing business and clients and revenues.
• Underrepresented lawyers are likely to have more mental health disorders leading to alcohol abuse and anxiety, such as those who experience microaggressions.
Ready for Success?
Losing a lawyer can be a costly and disruptive experience for a law firm, both in terms of the direct costs associated with recruiting and training a new employee and the indirect costs associated with lost productivity, delays, and institutional knowledge loss. By investing in initiatives that promote diverse, healthy employee retention and engagement, law firms can reduce the likelihood of losing valuable employees and the costs associated with employee turnover, making life and practice much easier.
Here’s your easy 2-step solution:
2. Meet and Plan: Every law firm and lawyer are unique and different. To get answers and a tailored plan just for your law firm, schedule a free Deep Dive Assessment with Katy and together we can get your law firm moving forward to success.