Big Law firm launches wellbeing program firmwide

by Steve Randall31 May 2019

Big Law firm launches wellbeing program firmwide

Kirkland & Ellis has launched a firmwide Wellbeing Program to help its lawyers with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Jeffrey C. Hammes, chairman of Kirkland’s Global Management Executive Committee says the initiative is something lawyers throughout the legal community are asking of their law firms.

“We are embracing the call for a more open and transparent dialog about mental health within our profession and believe this program will become an important part of our culture,” he said.

As the newly hired firmwide Director of Wellbeing, Robin Belleau brings experience as both a lawyer and as a licensed professional clinical counsellor.

She says that she hopes more talk about mental health and substance abuse issues in the legal profession will help remove the stigma.

“It is important for this program to be created with lawyers in mind because they need a program that is easy for them to manoeuvre within their busy schedules and something that addresses these topics from the perspective of a lawyer,” she said.

Linklaters China JV now has an office in Beijing

The joint venture partner of Linklaters has opened its second office in China.

The Beijing branch of Zhao Sheng Law Firm follows the opening of its office in the Shanghai FTZ in 2018. It will offer a full range of RPC law services and brings the firm closer to its many clients in the Beijing capital along with regulators.

The initial focus of the Beijing office will be competition, but other practice areas are expected to follow. The Shanghai office already offers Corporate M&A, Financial Regulation, Competition and Dispute Resolution advice.

Most lawyers think their firms should match recent pay hikes

Hiring intentions are strong among law firms in the US and Canada with 68% of lawyers saying their firm is planning to hire more first-year associates in the next year.

That’s a tripling of the share who saw increases in a similar survey in 2017 according to recruiters Robert Half Legal.

Meanwhile, with some large law firms hiking first-year salaries 63% of respondents think their firms should follow suit and match base salaries of the larger firms.

"While law firms don't expect newly minted associates to possess in-depth industry knowledge, they do seek lawyers with advanced tech skills, business acumen and collaboration abilities," said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "Highlighting in-demand attributes on their resumes, along with scholastic accomplishments and legal experience gleaned through internships, pro bono activities and project work, helps candidates stand out to potential employers."