In a Profession Beset with Problems, 'Coaches' May Offer Part of the Solution
The profession's problems are not just evident to those on the inside. Others, including Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., see the super-charged stress and subsequent dissension the law-firm environment breeds.
Although Ostrow generally works with individual attorneys, recently she's been talking more with management, as law-firm leaders grapple with dwindling retention rates.
She also implores associates, before they become completely dissatisfied, to take more initiative in getting mentoring by being clearer about what kind of work they want to do and by targeting the specific skills they should seek to enhance, all while asking them to examine what they really want in their lives.
Ostrow is asked to speak at state bar association conferences, where she often hears horror stories about the unwillingness of firms to treat attorneys as anything but billable-hour machines. "I shake my head in disgust the most when an attorney has made a reasonable case for working part-time to help balance her life," she says.