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WELLNESS

Worker well-being a priority for US employers, but program usage falters

Over the last year, workers around the world have been struggling with mental health issues—particularly burnout and isolation. As employers prepare for a post-COVID-19 world, a more holistic view of worker well-being is key to helping employees at all levels manage stress and remain engaged. A new report from The Conference Board, Holistic Well-Being @Work, examines what organizations are doing to implement more comprehensive well-being initiatives and offers recommendations for building healthier, resilient work environments. As the report details, while organizations recognize the importance of a holistic well-being strategy, many struggle to build a fully integrated approach, with low program participation and limited resources cited as the top barriers to success. Featured in the report are results from two surveys, including one of more than 200 practitioners responsible for their organizations’… . . . read more

HIRING

Overall lateral hiring plummets in 2020, lateral associate hiring saw greatest declines

After remaining relatively steady in 2019, lateral hiring fell by more than 30% overall in 2020, driven in large part by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on recruiting. This steep fall-off in 2020 was experienced across all firm sizes, regions, and cities included in NALP’s analysis of the Survey of Legal Employers on Recruiting from 2020-21, although some offices saw larger decreases than others. This is the largest decline in lateral hiring since the peak of the Great Recession in 2009 when lateral hiring was down by 52%. NALP’s 2020 analyses cover aggregate hiring information on more than 4,500 lateral lawyers in 388 offices/firms. “This news may seem to be at odds with people’s current experience in the market, where the competition for lateral associates is reportedly red hot, but in… . . . read more

WELLNESS

Burnout is building for 43% of workers, research shows        

Many workers are worn out and ready to make up for lost vacation time, new research shows. More than 4 in 10 professionals surveyed (43 per cent) said they are more burned out on the job today compared to a year ago, up from 33 per cent in a similar 2020 poll. The new survey by global staffing firm Robert Half shows employees experiencing increased fatigue, with 42 per cent blame it on a heavier workload.  “For the past 14 months, many professionals have dealt with increased workloads, longer hours, minimal vacation time, and juggling personal and professional responsibilities,” said David King,  senior district president of Robert Half. “With burnout clearly on the rise, now is the time for organizations to encourage their employees to prioritize mental health and well-being,… . . . read more

HIRING

First-year associate salaries rise in spite of pandemic pay cuts

Salaries for first-year associates are rising in spite of last year’s pay reductions. The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has released its 2021 Associate Salary Survey report, showing that the overall median first-year associate base salary as of Jan. 1, 2021 was $165,000, up $10,000 (6.5%) from 2019, the year of the last survey administration. Law firms of more than 250 lawyers accounted for about 78% of the 572 responses. “Despite widespread media reports of austerity measures implemented by law firms during the pandemic, including delays in partner draws and in some cases temporary salary reductions for lawyers, the findings from NALP’s latest Associate Salary Survey show that associate compensation has continued to grow over the last two years, with first-year associate compensation of $190,000 now measured as the most common… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

Zoom court appearance prep: Check for cat filters

Now that a lawyer has appeared as a kitten in a Zoom court hearing, we can add another item to the list of Zoom hearing best practices: Check the webcam for filters before joining the meeting. Last week an attorney accidentally joined a video conference of a civil forfeiture court hearing while using a webcam filter that made him look like a confused white kitten. “I’m here live. I’m not a cat,” Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton told Judge Roy Ferguson. “I can see that,” replied Ferguson, whose district covers five counties in West Texas, including the town of Marfa from which Ponton was calling. The short video clip, which was shared online by Ferguson, ends with others coaching the attorney on how to remove the cat filter. The judge… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

What problems does AI bring to the legal sector?

By Brittainy Boessel Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is steadily gaining traction in the legal sector, and some practitioners worry about the changes it’s bringing. Many legal professionals fear AI may infringe on their job security by significantly cutting the available jobs. A number of legal professionals raise ethical and legal concerns underlying the use of AI in their work. Still others wonder whether future attorneys will possess the skills needed to take advantage of this technology. This article will discuss a few of the valid concerns regarding the use of legal AI technology and explain why the benefits of AI outweigh the risks. Will AI make lawyers obsolete? When technology performs better than humans at certain tasks, job losses seem inevitable. But the effect may not be as dire as… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Use your high performers to engage the rest of the team

Among the goals of any manager is to create and maintain a high-performance organization. That means you have created a machine that operates at top efficiency, and your employees are engaged. Some organizations don’t believe this really applies to them. Research has suggested that only 25 percent of the typical workforce is engaged. This means that only a fraction of your employees are in tune with your mission, vision, and values. As a high-performance organization, with a larger core group who can be counted on to care about the organization’s success, your results would be much higher. But nothing stays the same. Employees leave for reasons that have nothing to do with job satisfaction, and it can be a challenge to replace former employees.  It can be a challenge to… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

Can every attorney in your office answer these 10 critical questions for 2021?

Want to see more profit in 2021? Get each attorney to draw up a practice plan for the year. A plan forces the attorneys to organize their work agenda by focusing on practice development, production, and self-improvement. What’s more, it ensures that everybody does work that furthers the firm’s goals, it keeps the marketing focused, and it keeps the collections in line. Use this 10-point format: First are the hours goals 1 What is the number of hours you will devote to billable work? This forces the attorneys to take a serious look at how they should spend next year’s time. It also forces them to look at their historical performance. It’s not reasonable, for example, for an attorney who has billed 1,400 hours for the past two years to… . . . read more

HUMAN RESOURCES

5 people problems and how to solve them

By Lynne Curry bio We can’t guess all the challenges facing us as office managers in this new year, but we can assume that we will be dealing with an old one: people and their personalities. Whether working together virtually or in-person, chances are good you will be dealing with people problems. Here are five common problems and strategies for dealing with them. Stopping a bully senior manager without losing your job Question: I face a situation that has no easy answer and no easy solution. As the office manager and human resources director, I supposedly enforce our corporation’s code of conduct and oversee the human resource issues. I report to the report to the chief operating officer, a bully who runs roughshod over any employee unlucky enough to cross… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

Renting out extra space? Set up protective walls to avoid risk

With more law firm employees working from home during the pandemic, a firm may find itself living in too much space—and paying too much rent. One solution is to bring in a tenant. Usually the renter is a solo practitioner or a small firm, and the arrangement is good for everybody, because the firm collects the rent and the renter gets the amenities as well as the appearance of an association with the larger group. From a risk perspective, however, it’s a cause for concern. The firm has to look past the financial benefits to the danger spots. It has to think like a landlord and get signed documents and insurance policies. And more, it has to set up protections against the disasters specific to a law firm/law firm lease… . . . read more


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