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What do you really want?
It's a question that sometimes comes up in the crisis stage of a relationship. One partner feels inadequate or frustrated, and the other is stifled about communicating his feelings.
Maybe I'm getting too personal here, but the point is that sometimes lawyers don't seem to know what they want professionally either. Because the attorney-employer relationship shouldn't be a guessing game, here are some perks attorneys actually want:
Hello, it is always about the money. Every self-respecting and profitable lawyer wants to get paid.
That doesn't necessarily mean "more money" right now. When the parties first got together, they agreed on the pay part.
Money can be translated to mean "value." If an employer is working lawyers to death and not valuing their work, those lawyers will not survive and neither will the relationship.
So if your lawyer is working like a dog, at least give the dog a bone now and then. How about a bonus before Christmas? That will perk up some ears.
Now the relationship gets complicated because you would think that when an employer offers reduced hours, flex time schedules or telecommuting, it would improve the relationship. But guess what?
Apparently many lawyers are not taking the perks even when offered. According to a survey of BigLaw firms, only 8.8 percent of their lawyers took the opportunity to work reduced hours.
"This makes us wonder why associates aren't using the perks that have been made available to them," queried Above the Law. "Are they afraid that they'll be penalized in the future -- either vis-à-vis their paychecks or partnership prospects -- if they take advantage of these reduced-hours policies?"
Maybe it's not about the time, but the quality of time. Really, how can lawyers relax when work follows them home?
If you love reading or watching classics in your off hours, you gotta love Charles Dickens. There's that moment, a tear-jerking scene in the original musical adaptation of Oliver Twist, when the orphan says with an empty bowl in hand:
"Please sir, I want some more."
There you have it, lords. Those lowly workers actually do want more perks. And like bowls of gruel, they don't have to be expensive.
While some lawyers may not use them, everyone wants them. They may just be afraid to ask. So if you see another firm offering a workplace perk, you may want to pay attention. People want what they don't have. For example, one firm recently made headlines for offering a gender-neutral parental leave policy. Even if lawyers at your firm haven't asked for this, they're probably keeping an eye on it.
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