“So far in this survival skills series, we’ve discussed developing emotional resilience, beating long-term stress, and staying grounded during difficult, emotional cases. Today, we cover balancing professionalism and compassion. It’s important to present a sharp, professional image in our work, but our professionalism should allow people to be authentically human.
Does the Pursuit of Billable Hours Leave Time for Compassion?
Associates at big law firms may sometimes feel they are just cogs in an unfeeling machine. The firm expects them to bill 2,000-plus hours annually, year after year. Yet the partners may not even know their names. It sometimes seems as if it doesn’t matter when associates have a health or personal issue. The work must get done and billed.
The managing partner is often rightly focused on the numbers: How are we doing in terms of profit per partner? Where are we compared with last year? Without careful attention to these issues, the firm could be at risk. But at the same time, it’s important to understand that not everything comes down to a bottom-line reckoning of quantitative performance.”
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