Training and Retention

Law Firm Life

The Lawyers Weekly has launched a new column in the business section that explores life inside the firm. Last week the focus was on Bull, Housser & Tupper an old Vancouver firm with some new approaches to management.  The firm has been ranked as one of the best workplaces in BC by a local business magazine the last two years running, which left many of us scratching our heads and wondering what was going on at BHT?  Best places to work?  A law firm?

Yes, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. 

To poach from Beverly Cramp’s article here are some of the goings on up there on the 30th floor of the Royal Bank Tower:

  • Job sharing for staff members.  Working mom’s sharing a job during the early years of parenting. 
  • Impromptu gatherings of staff and lawyers (triggered by invitations over the internet) grouse grinding together, playing basketball, and other such sporting activities.
  • Meet and greets for staff members from different parts of the office.
  • Mentors for new staff members.
  • A health and wellness program featuring lunch time seminars and fitness subsidies.

The demand for qualified legal support staff has never been higher.  Law firms all over the country are paying increasing attention not just to associate benefits, but also to the perks that will keep talented support staff in the firm, and out of the recruiter’s office.

Harper Grey LLP, a litigation firm in Vancouver, has also launched a number of similar programs for their staff including fitness subsidies, lunch and learns, healthy food in the coffee rooms, walking groups, and flexible work hours for staff.  Most noteworthy, the firm held a staff survey to determine the areas where improvements could be made.  In a legal market where law firms are still reluctant to survey their clients this has to be counted as a bold step!  The result has translated into strong retention rates and high firm morale.

Kudos to the Human Resources Directors and the Managing Partners who support them, for taking action to make our law firms places where we can feel good about going to work.

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.