Practice and Promote Wellness to Combat Associate Dissatisfaction

September 6, 2022

Younger lawyers are over it. You may have heard that for today’s associates, it’s not about making partner; it’s about work-life balance.

A survey of mid-level associates revealed that more than 75% felt their law firm job significantly affected their mental health. And 52% would consider quitting for better work-life balance.

Some younger lawyers want to be more active in their kids’ lives. Others want time to explore interests outside of work. Either way, millennials prioritize people and culture fit.

There’s a business case to be made for supporting work-life balance: It can help firms compete in the escalating war for talent. And marketing and PR — communicating the wellness message — are key to firms’ efforts to engage and retain current associates and attract new ones.

Be part of the solution

A starting point for firms that turned their attention to employee wellness during the pandemic is to continue doing so. Offering flexible scheduling and remote work, encouraging use of vacation time, and providing mental health days are effective retention initiatives.

Marketing and PR’s role is to position the firm as a leader in employee wellness. Here are three ways to show your firm “gets it” when it comes to well-being.

  1. Integrate employee wellness into your firm’s communications strategy. Demonstrate your firm’s commitment through ongoing messaging and by making employee wellness part of how your firm talks about who they are and what they do. Include wellness stories as regular features of your editorial calendar.
  2. Amplify stories about well-being in the legal profession. Mental health may have been a taboo topic in the legal market, but that’s no longer true. Share articles likethese with your network to highlight the importance of cultivating a healthy culture in law firms. For quick hits on social media, tap into hashtags like #wellnesswednesday. It’s a welcome show of support.
  3. Pitch a wellness thought-leadership piece or series to a key outlet. Start by targeting an audience you want to reach, whether it’s individuals in a certain practice area or those in a specific geographic area. Then craft your firm’s narrative. You may have attorneys in your firm willing to speak about personal struggles with mental health — and how the firm supported them. Or maybe it’s sharing data showing a positive correlation between your firm’s wellness programs and retention levels. These stories raise awareness of wellness in the legal profession as well as increase your firm’s visibility as a leader in this area.

For lawyers who prioritize work-life balance, hearing and seeing how their firm promotes and practices wellness just may make the difference in whether they stay.