4 Ways Lawyers Can Give Back in the New Year

Resolve to connect with people and causes.

The new year has begun, and chances are, you’ve already created an epic list of New Year’s resolutions designed for self-improvement. Perhaps you’ve resolved to eat better, sleep more, or procrastinate less. A commitment to bettering yourself is commendable, but what if you could adopt resolutions that helped improve your own life as well as the lives of others?

Below are four New Year’s resolutions to consider adding to your list in 2017. Committing to just one will not only help you grow as a lawyer, but will make a positive difference in another person’s life—we promise!

1. Thank your best clients.

We all learn from a young age that saying thank you is important. But as we get older and our lives get busier, we sometimes forget to show gratitude. In 2017, challenge yourself to saying thank you to one client per month. Take the time to write thoughtful, hand-written notes—don’t just send an impersonal email or generic card. Your clients will notice the additional effort and will feel extra appreciated. By the end of the year, you will have deepened your relationship with 12 clients while increasing your chances of client referrals. It’s a win-win!

2. Make time for pro bono work.

The American Bar Association recommends that lawyers contribute at least 50 hours of pro bono service per year, but we think you can do better. In 2017, raise the bar by providing 60 hours (that’s just 5 hours per month!) of pro bono service. Use the time to connect with causes you love. Like music? See if your local radio station needs legal advice. Interested in environmental rights? Seek out a non-profit focused on green initiatives. There are countless opportunities for you to get involved while staying true to your passions.

3. Mentor a young lawyer.

Lawyers have a long-standing tradition of mentoring those new to the field. Keep up the practice by taking a young lawyer under your wing this year. With your insights and insider knowledge, you can help a young attorney transition from a novice to a seasoned professional. Plus, if you keep an open mind, you too can learn something from the mentoring process. For instance, younger legal professionals may have fresh, new ways of using technology to improve processes.

4. Develop deeper workplace relationships.

Maintaining a good rapport with your co-workers is essential to running a successful law firm. Deepen relationships with your staff by taking two colleagues to lunch per month in 2017. Talk about whatever you’d like, but try to avoid work-related discussions. The goal is to understand your colleagues better on a personal level. Why? Because strong, social relationships will allow for better collaboration on cases, as well as support when your workload becomes overwhelming.

Goals of self-improvement are important. But developing personally and professionally while also helping others is downright admirable. So, after you rev up the treadmill and buy all the kale off the grocery store shelves, make time to connect with the people and causes that matter most to you.

This article is for general information purposes only.

CITATIONS

Choi, Sunny. “Five New Year’s Resolutions for Small Firm Attorneys.” American Bar Association. American Bar Association, Jan. 2015. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.

Ross, Gary J. “SmallLaw New Year’s Resolutions.” Above the Law. Breaking Media, Inc., 31 Dec. 2015. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.

Volkert, Charles A. “The Value of Finding — and Being — a Mentor in the Legal Profession.” Robert Half Legal. Robert Half International, Inc., 7 Oct. 2014. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.

“ABA Model Rule 6.1.” American Bar Association. American Bar Association, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.

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