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August 13, 2021

Three Tips for Avoiding Burnout in Law Firm Associates: Davis Graham & Stubbs and Keating Muething & Klekamp Case Studies

During their first years working at a firm, junior associates are particularly susceptible to burnout. New levels of severe stress and immense pressure may diminish their physical and mental health, destroy their concentration, productivity, and confidence, and motivate overwhelmed associates to leave the firm. But, with proper guidance, training, and mentorship programs in place, firms can mitigate the effects of burnout and increase retention rates among their junior specialists. 

Through our training program, our team at AltaClaro has helped nationally-ranked law firms, like Davis Graham & Stubbs and Keating Muething & Klekamp, minimize burnout in their associates by facilitating their seamless transition into the law firm environment. Here’s what has worked for us:


Ensure Associates Understand The “Why” Behind Their Assignments

Associates who feel confident in their abilities to independently execute tasks and make decisions are more likely to feel engaged in the workplace and less likely to rely on support. Organizations can foster confidence in their employees by explaining the importance and justifications behind key decisions.

However, as described by Kelsey Swagger, an associate with Davis Graham & Stubbs, “Often times as a junior associate, there isn’t ample time to ask ‘why,’ resulting in the inability to think critically about the same issue or document in the future, but under a different set of facts and circumstances.”

The most efficient way to foster confidence and motivation among associates is by getting all of their questions answered at the outset through an effective training program, like AltaClaro.

“At DGS, we are attuned to the challenges that new attorneys face, and we want to set our corporate associates on the path to success from the start.” shares Brian Boonstra, Partner & Chair of the Finance & Acquisitions Department at Davis Graham & Stubbs.

“AltaClaro provides our corporate associates with an innovative and effective training model that facilitates the transition to a law firm environment by preparing them for complex transactions in any industry."

Brian Boonstra - DGS

                                                                                    Brian Boonstra

                                     Partner & Chair of the Finance & Acquisitions Department


Make Time for Mentorship

Providing associates with sufficient support and feedback throughout their onboarding process is central to associate retention. A mentorship program provides associates with space to express pressing questions and concerns and sufficient support to fast-track their path to success. However, as described by Julie Mulhern, Director of Legal Recruiting and Professional Development at Keating Muething & Klelamp, partners are usually too occupied with their own workload to spend enough time walking associates through all the necessary steps of a transaction.

According to Mulhern, partnering with a training program like AltaClaro helped resolve this issue by providing associates with an opportunity to ask many questions and not feel judged in the process.


Minimize Stress

With looming deadlines and an ongoing workload, experiencing stress as a practicing attorney is inevitable. But, giving associates an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills they will need without the pressure of hard deadlines and real clients will prevent associates from burning out early. A flexible learning approach such as ours, with hypothetical exercises and live feedback from our experts, minimizes the stress associates experience in the onboarding process.

"The [AltaClaro] course allowed me to work through junior associate-type assignments without the pressure of time or urgency of a deadline, and with the ability to ask questions without fear of wasting a senior associate's or partner's time, or looking silly," said Swagger.


Inspired to learn more?

Firms such as K&L Gates, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Barnes & Thornburg, and Husch Blackwell turn to AltaClaro for the most effective training programs on the market.

Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our experts to learn how to empower your associates to hit the ground running and develop your personalized associate training program.

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