WHAT CLIENTS ARE SAYING:
“I’ve been doing these Senior Administrator meetings for a long time and you are by far the best external speaker we’ve ever had.”
Joe Palermo, Chief Operating Officer, K&L Gates
Attorney & Practice Group Chair Cindy Walden talks about the benefits of Paula’s resilience programs!
WHEN CHANGE IS THE NEW NORM, HOW DO YOU COPE?
Challenge, change and uncertainty are here to stay in today’s legal profession. Busy lawyers are maxed out as they deal with the stress and pressure of a demanding profession, and law firms and organizations are looking for new strategies to attract and retain top talent. Practice areas have become more complex and specialized as technology has allowed firms to offload work traditionally done by lawyers to other providers. Younger lawyers aren’t getting the mentoring and personal interaction they need from partners who are skeptical of spending their time and energy with people they assume will be onto their next job in two or three years. Lawyers just out of law school are expected to be “practice ready” – not only capable legal technicians, but also business savvy and ready to solve clients’ complex problems by collaborating with other professionals in an innovative way.
Being able to adapt to this changing environment and develop resilience to stress has become a critical skillset for lawyers and law firm leaders to possess. Resilience is a person’s capacity for stress-related growth, and lawyer personality research reveals that lawyers as a population tend to be quite low in the trait. In fact, many lawyers score in the 30th percentile or lower on the trait, revealing thin-skinned tendencies, taking criticism personally, and being overly defensive and resistant to feedback. I theorize that lawyers are so low in resilience because the two main building blocks that grow it, (1) thinking flexibly about challenges and framing adversity in an accurate way; and (2) developing high-quality connections with others, are frustrated by lawyers’ exceedingly high levels of skepticism (measured in the 90th percentile) and exceedingly low levels of sociability (measured in the 12th percentile).
Resilience helps leaders effectively withstand change and manage the pressure of a high-stress, fast-paced environment:
- Law firm talent management consultant Terri Mottershead states, “In the new normal, it is critical that law firms place [resilience] high on the list of “must haves” in their leadership job descriptions and support its development in emerging leaders.”
- In their new leadership model, Harvard law professors Scott Westfahl and David Wilkins include resilience and cognitive reframing as important leadership and professional skills lawyers should develop.
- Army officers with higher levels of resilience were promoted ahead of schedule, were assigned tougher tasks, and achieved the rank of a one star general faster than their low-resilience counterparts.
As the profession continues on the path of change and as lawyers continue to try out new products, services and ways of doing business, failure will happen as a natural by-product of innovation.
In addition, the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being recently recommended that one of the key things law firms and organizations can do to help build lawyer well-being is offering courses, information and workshops on burnout prevention/engagement and developing resilience using the Army’s own resilience training as a model. Paula was fortunate to be part of the University of Pennsylvania faculty teaching resilience skills to soldiers for more than three years.
BURNOUT PREVENTION, STRESS RESILIENCE & WELL-BEING SERVICES
We offer a variety of resilience, burnout prevention and well-being services that are customized to match the needs, culture and goals of your firm or organization, including:
KEYNOTES & WORKSHOPS: Our keynotes and workshops typically range in length from 60 minutes to 1/2 day with 90 minutes – 2 hours being most typical. These programs are experiential and skills are practiced in the moment. We also include one-on-one or group coaching with our workshops to address the specific needs of each lawyer or law firm leader.
LAW FIRM ADMINISTRATION COURSES: A shorter, executive style course to build buy-in, awareness and support among law firm and organizational leadership.
PROGRAMS FOR FIRM CLIENTS: Law firms often ask Paula to present to their clients on both burnout prevention and stress resilience topics. Most AmLaw 100 firms service large companies, whose employees are experiencing a great deal of change, stress, burnout and disengagement. Not only does this provide a nice networking opportunity for firms and their clients, but clients also appreciate that their firm is addressing their challenges from a holistic framework, beyond just focusing on legal concerns.
TRAIN-THE-TRAINER PROGRAMS: Participants learn how to use different stress resilience and well-being tools and how to teach those skills to others to grow internal training capabilities.
ONLINE AND DISTANCE LEARNING: Paula frequently records webcasts, live webinars and online courses which can be housed on-site at firms and organizations.
ONGOING CURRICULUM & RESOURCE CUSTOMIZATION: We can help you build an internal library of resources including podcasts, newsletters, recorded webinars and videos, articles, research papers and more.
PARTIAL LIST OF CLIENTS:
K&L Gates LLP
Quarles & Brady LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP
Fish & Richardson LLP
Steptoe & Johnson
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
Drinker Biddle & Reath
Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP (“Blakes”)
Davis & Kuelthau
American Bar Association
Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society (“ALAS”)
Professional Development Consortium (“PDC”)
If you are interested in talking to Paula about how these services may benefit your firm or organization, please contact Paula at (414) 477-8697 or via our contact form.