Compassionate Law Firms Put Quality Before Quantity
The truth is being a lawyer is simply a job. It is the human that fills it, that makes the difference. The capacity for compassion defines the human. What is compassion?
Getting the job done is not about feeling sorry for clients. It is not about identifying with their feelings and emotions. Doing the job is about action, recognizing another person’s pain or problems and taking concrete steps to help.
Compassion is also noticing the strain the job is having on lawyers, especially those in your office. Who knows better than a fellow lawyer, that juggling multiple cases or working one major one, creates major stress? Offering advice, or solutions or even taking on a case, are all ways of showing compassion.
Do you treat yourself with compassion? Lawyers are perfectionists, often quite hard on themselves. Trying to be an island will only lead to unhappy results. Lean on associates, break for lunches, joke and shoot the breeze. All are forms of compassion, not to mention being human.
Uncompromising work environments are not created with human stress levels in mind. Dire health and personal issues arise, interfering with productivity and availability. Develop a culture of compassion, show kindness and be there for those who need or ask for help.
Compassion is how a firm remains competitive. Starting with leadership, compassion allows lawyers to feel comfortable with asking for help. Compassion is not weakness.
Exponential growth is the result of treating employees as humans. Compassion leads to success, with an emphasis on work-life balance and sensitivity to pressure. Focusing on billable hours and over compassion makes a law firm incompatible with employment needs.
Billable Hours vs. Compassion
Speaking of competition, the number of billable hours has always been the measuring stick for success. What if compassion replaced billable hours? Billable hours have caused associates to avoid addressing health or personal issues, feeling like a cog in a merciless machine.
Focusing on numbers makes people feel like numbers. Putting profit before people adds up to quantity over quality. Compassion should be the bottom line. Rather than comparisons with last year’s figures, priority should be placed on consistency of overall performance.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
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