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Why Happiness MattersWhy Happiness Matters To Law Firms/Employers… To Legal Professionals…. To the Perception of the Profession…

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Presentation on theme: "Why Happiness MattersWhy Happiness Matters To Law Firms/Employers… To Legal Professionals…. To the Perception of the Profession…"— Presentation transcript:



3 Why Happiness MattersWhy Happiness Matters To Law Firms/Employers… To Legal Professionals…. To the Perception of the Profession…

4 Business & LawBusiness & Law Comparative Analysis Happiness in Business or Law by Peter Huang … happiness and life satisfaction are both only parts of the first of these five elements of well-being: positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishment … (PERMA). Return on Investment (ROI) for companies typically focused on making money should by cultivating well-being in terms of PERMA.

5 Clicker QuestionClicker Question There are 3 main approaches to work from perspectives of business and law professionals … Choose A if: Its just a job, meaning ones principal focus is on financial rewards instead of intrinsic rewards such as interests. What matters is money, so higher pay can motivate switching jobs. Choose B if: Its more of a career, meaning one cares about advancement. One desires to climb as far as possible on a career ladder or be among those most highly-regarded professionals in ones field. What matters is power, prestige and status derived from work. Choose C if: Its really a calling, meaning one derives inspiration from work itself. What matters is fulfillment and satisfaction from work that is well-done, as opposed to financial gain or career advancement.

6 Results The majority, 45%, chose A Its just a job, meaning ones principal focus is on financial rewards... Close second, 36%, chose C, Its really a calling, meaning one derives inspiration from work itself… Remaining of class, 18%, chose B, Its more of a career, meaning one cares about advancement…

7 Positive Experiences Each Day Harvard Business Review, January 2012 Power of Repetition Importance of Perspective Importance in the Work Place Profitability

8 Clicker QuestionClicker Question Choose A if… I believe students enter law school happy and then become less happy and/or unhappy during law school. This then continues into the legal profession. Choose B if… I believe the demands on legal professionals makes for an unhappy life.

9 Work Place Well-Being Activity 1.Please Divide Into 3 Groups 2.Please Take a Post-It Note & Marker 3.Please Collaborate & Engage in Group Discussion for a Few Minutes 4.Class Discussion on Ideas

10 Activity: Decide What Perks/Policies/Employer Benefits Would Make You Happy at 3 Stages of Your Career: Group 1: Graduation/Post-Law School Group 2: Ten Years Out of Law School Group 3: Near Retirement

11 Group 1 ResultsGroup 1 Results Loan forgiveness Formal training Mentors Clear career expectations Positive work environments Time to prepare for the BAR EXAM

12 Group 2 ResultsGroup 2 Results Not working a huge amount of hours per week (time for relationships) Stable income to support a family (and pay off debts) Healthcare, retirement, 401k Nice office, colleagues that you enjoy Vacation time, free time Work/cases that interest you

13 Group 3 ResultsGroup 3 Results Flexible hours Good retirement benefits More freedom to choose cases and clients Sweet going away parties Generous sick leave Good insurance

14 Examples of Empowering Workplace Policies Law Firms Shopping Trip for New Suits to put best foot forward Happiness Committee Food Delivery/Grocery Shopping Services Buy/Sell Vacation Days Home Cleaning Escorts to your Car Child Care Referrals Fortune 100 Child Care Stipend to pay for entry costs of races, events & competitions Flexible Work Schedules Sabbatical Weekly Breakfast Meeting Massage On-Site Life Coaching Reverse-Mentoring Program to understand millennials

15 WARNING: Too Many Perks Perks are powerful drugs that can have positive effects; the downside is that perks, improperly used, can have bad effects as well. After-hiring, the firm can encourage employees to aspire to greater and greater amounts of wealth, and to consume lavishly in the short-term, by using perks to addict them to conspicuous consumption. Firms might encourage employees to get married and start families, as these obligations increase the employees demand for present consumption. The employee will be less able to accumulate sufficient wealth to enable her to depart the firm, hence avoiding a final period problem. Corporate Heroin: A Defense of Perks, Executive Loans And Conspicuous Consumption. Georgetown Law Journal August, 2005 M. Todd Henderson James C. Spindler

16 Concluding ObservationsConcluding Observations Happiness is… A Matter of Perspective Important to the LegalProfession Enhanced by PositiveRepetition


18 Movie Clip

19 What is Work/Life Balance? Meaningful achievement and enjoyment in every day life. 101 List. Discussion: How do you define work/life balance?

20 Technologys Positive Effects on Work/Life Balance 77% of professionals feel mobile communication devices enhance work/life balance. Do you feel technology enhances or impedes your work/life balance?

21 Technology Allows for Alternative Types of Practice Transitioning to retirement. Home-based practice. Virtual practices.

22 Transitioning to RetirementTransitioning to Retirement 78 million people are approaching retirement. 79% of workers 50+ desire to increase their technology skills. Opportunities for the legal profession.

23 Home-Based PracticesHome-Based Practices Using technology to replace the trappings of a traditional practice. Cost savings. Positive effects for work/life balance.

24 Virtual Law FirmsVirtual Law Firms Example: Virtual Law Partners Over 40 partners, many from ivy-league schools. Use technology to save money, make more money, while still maintaining sense of community.

25 Virtual Law FirmsVirtual Law Firms Traditional Practice 33% Partner Profits 33% Overhead 33% Attorney salaries Virtual Law Partners 65% Partner Profits 20% Extra Profits for Managers 15% Firm Overhead

26 Technologys Negative Effects on Work/Life Balance

27 80% of lawyers report that they use their phone for work after leaving the office. Examples: In one study, a man admitted using his smartphone during his wifes stepfathers funeral. A Congressman was seen writing emails throughout an Ash Wednesday service. In stating what led to his divorce a man said the thing that really brought it home to me was we were in an intimate moment in bed, I lifted up my head and I caught my wife checking her email on her Blackberry.

28 Technologys Negative Effects on Work/Life Balance Differences in perception between users and their friends and family. Materialization of work: When mobile devices used for work physically cross into the home, all the negative connotations associated with work cross as well. Absent presence: Being physically present but mentally absent.

29 How to Utilize the Positives and Minimize the Negatives Recognize the Pygmalion Effect and take advantage of it. Make sure you set the expectations of the lawyer/client relationship. Make a 101 List or Non-Negotiables List, determine where technology will help or hurt, and stick to it!


31 Legal Fees: What is Appropriate? The amount of the matter in dispute, the labour of the sarjeant, his value as a pleader in respect of his learning, eloquence, and repute, and lastly the usage of the court. Factors considered to be important in determining legal fees as they were listed circa 1290 in The Mirror of Justices, Book II, c. 5. Seldon Society Ed., 1895

32 Balancing the Economic Interests of Employees and Clients Attorney InterestsClient Interests Larger feesLow fees Large payout with minimal effortProportionality of fee to effort Large salaryIndifferent to attorneys salary Are flat fees for services (e.g., drafting an employment agreement) fair?

33 Client BillingClient Billing 3 Predominant Practices: Hourly, Fixed, Contingent Hourly billing is most widely used Contingency fees used most often in Plaintiffs PI cases, but hourly fees still most common Billable hour system is subject to substantial criticism

34 Alternatives for the FutureAlternatives for the Future MethodDescription Capped feeBilling based on time with total max fee Volume ratesVarying hourly rates depending on the size of the engagement Incentive billingSuccess fees on top of reduced hourly charges Value billingBased on value of service to client Loaned lawyerLawyer for firm works exclusively for a single client Mixed billingNegotiate for different rates at different stages

35 Attorney CompensationAttorney Compensation Deferred Compensation Most common practice among law firms 1/3 of associate revenue generated deemed to be profit Profit distributed to partners Incentivizes associates to work hard on one day make partner Can end up rewarding the most unproductive members of the firm Probably better than pure productivity or seniority Should try to integrate more performance-based incentives

36 The Rise of Lateral HiresThe Rise of Lateral Hires Ethical Considerations MRPC 1.7: No representation if it presents a conflict of interest MRPC 1.10: Imputes conflicts to firm MRPC 1.9: Creates duty to former clients The 1.10(a) Ethical Screen Screen must be timely Notice given to former client Certificate of Compliance Note : Even if hired MRCP 1.6 is still in effect!

37 Krutzfeldt Ranch LLC v. Pinnacle Bank 363 Mont. 366 (Mont. 2012) Arises out of loan dispute Krutzfeldt hires Harris, Harris retains Hoskins. Pinnacle represented by Crowley. Hoskins never formally terminates representation. He accepts a job with Crowley. Harris moves for injunction prohibiting Crowley from representing Pinnacle in light of conflict. Crowley claims it may continue representation because they screened Hoskins. Court holds that screen not timely. Should have been done before the discovery of a conflict, not after. Also, Harris and Krutzfeldt not even considered former clients

38 The Role of the Managing Partner Today, the role of the managing partner has been altered by the increased mobility of attorneys. Firm loyalty is not what it once was. Effective managers will not only implement financial policies to foster economic growth, but they will also create a workplace that will restore loyalty to the firm

39 Board of Overseers v. WarrenBoard of Overseers v. Warren 34 A.3d 1103 (Maine 2011) Duncan caught embezzling money from firm He willingly pays money back and offers his resignation Managing partners decide he can stay, they do not report his behavior, and they delayed taking preventative measures for 4 months Later it is discovered that he had embezzled more than originally thought, and he also had defrauded clients. Managing partners promptly reported him to authorities Bar complaint brought against managing partners. Did partners violated ethical obligation by not initially reporting? By not taking preventative measures? Court finds that failure to report first instance not an ethical violation under Maine test, but failure to take preventative measures was. Moral of the story? Consider ethical obligations before moral obligations to employees.


41 Which View is Correct?Which View is Correct? Job-hunting students should try to find a practice where they wont have to work too many hours. Try to find a practice that enables you to maintain a human existence, time for your family, your church or synagogue, community...Boy Scouts, Little League. – Justice Scalia Theres no such thing as work- life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences. (Emphasizing viewpoint reflecting free-market employment system for competitive, high paid posts) – Jack Welch

42 What is Work-Life Balance?What is Work-Life Balance? Millennials seek a desire to shape their jobs to fit their lives rather than adapt their lives to the workplace.

43 Millennials DesiresMillennials Desires Work Expectations Entitlement Higher Pay (74%) Flexible Work Schedule (61%) Promotion w/n Year (56%) Personal/Vacation Time (50%) Life (Whats Important) Being Good Parent (52%) Successful Marriage (30%) Helping Those in Need (21%) Owning Home (20%) Successful in High-Paying Career (15%) Having Lots of Free Time (9%) Becoming Famous (1%)

44 Why is this Important?Why is this Important? Individually Sleep Deprivation Substance Abuse Long-Term Disease Unhappiness Lower Work Productivity Society Broken Marriages and Families. Less Civic Engagement Less Cultural Engagement Diminished Relationships

45 Whose Responsibility?Whose Responsibility? Individual Choose Right Fit Choose Higher $ vs. Less Hours Worked Find Purpose and Enjoyment in Work Law Firms Balanced Hours (tailored to individual) Career Associate Path Cultivate Common Interests and Passions Re-think Revenue Structure Flexibility in Mobile Commuting

46 Trends Respected firm in NY filed a brief asking judge to reschedule hearings set for four different days because the hearings were in the middle of their childrens Christmas break, one of the only times they can spend significant amounts of time with their children. Judge rescheduled the hearings. Basketball court doubling as conference room. Lawyer group in MD who surf and paddleboard most mornings before work. Firm who doesnt schedule anything past 3:00 to allow lawyers chance to leave early.

47 Conclusion Questions? Final Thoughts? Perspectives?

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