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Sleep-Deprived Lawyers Get Ready: Law Firm Adds Napping Pods

Lawyers, please don't confuse napping with nodding off.

Nodding off happens when you've been working long hours and you just can't keep your eyes open -- like weary associates grinding through discovery. Napping happens when you take a break to revive yourself in a napping pod -- like the progressive attorneys at White & Case.

They are not the first attorneys to take naps on the job, but they are leading the way in a profession that burned the midnight oil long before the light bulb came along. Now in the latest age of innovation, sleep-deprived lawyers are discovering that napping is way better than nodding off.

Napping Pods

White & Case, with about 5,000 employees worldwide, created a break room with two napping pods when it renovated its Washington offices two years ago. A committee of associates suggested it, and now it's everybody's favorite place to relax at the office.

"Partners have used it. Associates have used it. Staff has used it. I've used it," partner Frank Vasquez told Above the Law.

The firm, with about 300 workers in Washington, has a "laid-back" approach for using the napping pods. Vasquez said there are no reservations, no logs. People just flow in and out, for 20 minute breaks, all day long.

White & Case may be the first large law firm to add napping pods, which are specially designed recliners that semi-enclose sleepers. Companies, like Google and Cisco, have used them for years.

Nap Time

MetroNaps, the company that designed and manufactured the napping pods, reported that tech companies first bought in to the idea to recruit employees and show they had an open mind about worker comforts.

The idea of napping is hardly new, however. It is a cultural right in some parts of the world, including China, Italy, Spain and Mexico.

In the United States, napping has been a given for children but not so much for adults. Unless, of course, that means nodding off for sleepy associates working late at the office.

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