“BigLaw” refers to the nation’s largest law firms. Contrary to popular stereotypes, BigLaw lawyers have been some of the most influential voices in the on-going discussion of attorney well-being.
Jana Cohen Barbe is a partner at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. Last week, several outlets, including LawFuel and Law.Com, published an open letter in which Attorney Barbe argued that a root cause of the legal profession’s mental health crisis is, in fact, the profession’s business model. As such, Attorney Barbe urged firms to re-think compensation systems, vacation packages, and “the almighty billable hour.”
I urge you to read Attorney Barbe’s letter. Here’s the paragraph that resonated most with me, mainly because it reminded me of a blog I posted two weeks ago: Vacations, Devices & Vacations From Devices:
- “What would happen if we de-emphasized the billable hour or did away with it completely, sizing our fees to projects undertaken and rewarding efficiency in performance? What would happen if we fostered a culture where vacations were mandatory and professionals were instructed not to check email while out of the office? I posit that our workforce would be happier, our clients would be happier (and also institutionalized to a far greater degree) and we could still pay the proverbial rent.”
Indeed, what would happen? It’s time to find out.
(thank you Geoffrey Bok for the tip!)