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This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360’s Expert Analysis column on July 15, 2020.

As states begin to lift restrictions and people emerge from the shutdown, law firms are developing their strategies for reopening offices after weeks of remote working.

Many firms will find that it’s not as simple as it sounds, and there are countless intricacies to consider before employees return. While most firms will focus on ensuring physical spaces are as safe as possible, it’s equally important to consider the impact reopening decisions will have on your firm’s culture of inclusivity moving forward.

Firms will clearly focus on safety measures such as social distancing guidelines, the use of masks and gloves, plexiglass dividers, temperature checks, bathroom and cafeteria limits, and frequent sanitization. Additionally, many offices will choose to bring employees back in phases or have them alternate days in the office. However, even with all the protective measures in place, experts agree that nowhere will be 100% safe from the virus until there is a vaccine or cure.

Consequently, firm leaders are facing extremely difficult decisions regarding how and when to reopen the office and who should return. When contemplating these significant questions, firms should consider the following tips to maintain fairness and support a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.

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This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360’s Expert Analysis column on May 14, 2020.

 

A successful team is made up of individuals who perform their responsibilities, support each other, and possess the flexibility to pivot and meet the needs of their coworkers.

While law firms have always functioned in teams, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified this equation and exponentially increased the need for cohesive teamwork at all levels. In order to ensure smooth operations during remote work and navigate the uncertain road ahead, each team member needs to commit to his or her unique role, intensify support for colleagues, and support the idea of flexible flexibility.

The Role of Chairs and Partners

During this pandemic (and beyond), leadership plays a critical role in setting the tone and navigating the course. All staff and attorneys are dealing with heightened stress and anxiety, and in many cases, increased caregiver responsibilities and isolation. Firm leadership should take this opportunity to demonstrate gratitude, empathy and commitment to their teams by:

Sustaining Morale

It’s particularly important for chairs and partners to relay optimism and empathy while remaining realistic during this pivotal time. To sustain employee morale and engagement during remote work, firm leaders should continuously send messages that reinforce the notion of “we’re in this together” to reassure employees and combat feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Continue Reading on LAW360.com here.

This article written by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, is published in the July 2019 issue of Modern Legal Practice. Read on to learn why flexibility is your organization’s new business imperative.

The culture in law firms around the globe is slowly evolving and changing with the times. Once only known for its grueling office hours, inflexible schedules and high turn-over rates, the legal industry is slowly beginning to embrace a new normal; one that offers and supports flexible working arrangements. Traditionally seen as a perk for employees, flexibility has now become the new business imperative.

Law firm leaders, who have long endured regrettable losses and challenges with recruitment and retention, are now reaping the benefits of flexibility — enhanced productivity, higher innovation, improved talent recruitment and retention, increased employee satisfaction and, most of all, a stronger bottom line.

As an industry that provides professional services, the sustainability of a law firm correlates directly with its ability to recruit and retain the best talent. Each year, competition for top legal talent increases and a firm’s ability to offer flexibility is vital to its ability to win the war on talent and mitigate regrettable losses…

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