Money and Communication Make Legal Professionals Happy

There are many posts here from and regarding paralegals who are either happy or unhappy with their jobs. Most often that status is determined by the amount of respect they get for what they do – respect that is shown to only a limited degree by the money they receive. It turns out this is true of other legal professionals, also – associates, for example.

ABAJournal.com reports a Boston law firm’s associates are happier with the firm Midlevel associates since it “improved communications and raised pay.” The firm learned associates wanted more dialogue with firm leaders. “As a result, the firm’s executive committee meets with associates four times a year, rather than twice a year. Based on an associate’s suggestion, a committee gathers anonymous questions that are addressed at the meetings. The firm also holds informal monthly breakfast meetings with groups of associates and seeks to demystify the partnership process with clearly established expectations and goals.”

Guess what attorneys – midlevel associate are happier with more communication and other indicia of respect because they are people and they are professionals. You are quite mistaken, however, if you believe this phenomemon is limited to attorney. Take a look around at the other members of the legal team. Paralegals, too, are people and they are professionals. Ignore this and the result is unhappy paralegals. Unhappy paralegals lead to the same kind of flaws in the performance of the legal team (you may argue about whether the flaws are not of the same magnitude, but not kind) as unhappy associates. The same respect you give others in the firm will go a long way to making them happy and even more effective, efficient, and professional.

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