Understanding Work Values and Problem Resolution for Lawyers

1. What is the value of researching candidates’ backgrounds for a law firm?
Researching candidates’ backgrounds can help anticipate how they may behave under stress, ultimately allowing you to determine successful careers among your workers.

Values are the foundation of who we are and how we live our lives. They influence everything from our clothes to the food we eat and play a powerful role in our work lives. Values are so important in the workplace that studies have shown that employees who feel their work values align with their company’s values are more likely to be engaged and committed. Likewise, when lawyers feel their work values are not being met, they are more likely to leave their current firm. Given the importance of values in the workplace, law firms must understand their attorney’s values and how they can be best met within the context of problem resolution. This guide will provide an overview of work values and how they relate to problem resolution for lawyers, as well as some tips on how firms can improve attraction and retention by better aligning with their attorneys’ values.

Defining Work Values

In today’s legal landscape, lawyers must strive to identify and uphold work values that bring job satisfaction. These core values range from cooperative problem-solving to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. For lawyers in law firms, these values often center around their commitment to justice, promoting ethical behavior, and providing professional excellence in law practice. A clear and defined sense of these desired values can help lawyers reach and maintain true job satisfaction within the firm.
Defining work values is crucial for lawyers to find job satisfaction and fulfillment within their law firms. These core values can include:
  • Commitment to justice: Lawyers who prioritize fairness, equality, and upholding the rule of law in their work.
  • Ethical behavior: Lawyers who adhere to a strong code of professional ethics and integrity in their practice.
  • Professional excellence: Lawyers who strive for high-quality work, continuous improvement, and delivering the best possible outcomes for their clients.
  • Cooperative problem-solving: Lawyers who value collaboration, teamwork, and finding mutually beneficial solutions in their interactions with colleagues and clients.
  • Work-life balance: Lawyers who prioritize maintaining a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.
Key points:
  • Defining work values helps lawyers align their professional goals and aspirations with the values of their law firm.
  • Clear work values increase job satisfaction, engagement, and organizational commitment.
  • Lawyers who identify and uphold their work values are more likely to find fulfillment and meaning in their careers.
Sample scenario: A lawyer evaluates job opportunities and considers two law firms. Firm A emphasizes a commitment to justice, ethical behavior, and work-life balance. Firm B focuses on aggressive litigation, long working hours, and maximizing profits. Based on their work values, the lawyer decides that Firm A aligns better with their desired professional and personal goals, leading to a higher likelihood of job satisfaction and fulfillment.

How to Assess Your Work Values

Assessing one’s work values can be incredibly difficult, as it often involves subjectivity and personal reflection. However, solutions do exist. Understanding what most corporations are looking for can help individuals identify their desired work values. For example, many lawyers have identified that innovation and creativity are invaluable to success in the industry; therefore, assessing how one’s perspective or solutions may contribute innovative solutions to a job description is essential in determining values. Therefore, by understanding the bigger picture of corporate goals and objectives and examining simple statements about what constitutes a successful job outcome, individuals can better assess their values to aid them in being competitive in the workplace.

Assessing work values can be challenging but is essential for career development. Some strategies for assessing work values include:
  • Understanding industry expectations: Researching what qualities and values are generally sought after in the legal profession can provide insight into desirable work values.
  • Reflecting on personal satisfaction: Assessing which aspects of previous job experiences or activities have brought the most satisfaction can help identify underlying work values.
  • Evaluating alignment with organizational values: Considering the values emphasized by potential law firms or employers and assessing how well they align with personal values can guide decision-making.
Key points:
  • Assessing work values helps lawyers understand their priorities and preferences in the workplace.
  • Recognizing the alignment between personal work values and those of potential employers improves job satisfaction and engagement.
  • Self-reflection and introspection are important for accurately assessing work values.
Sample scenario: A lawyer is offered a partnership position at a law firm. Before accepting the offer, they reflect on their work values and assess whether they align with the firm's values. Through introspection and research, the lawyer determines that the firm's focus on aggressive litigation and high billable hours conflicts with their value of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. As a result, they decide to decline the partnership offer and explore other opportunities that better align with their work values.

The Relationship Between Lawyers’ Work Values and Job Satisfaction
Attorneys value their work as part of a professional career, and their job satisfaction reflects their value in their role. Companies recognize attorneys’ value by providing compensation through salary, bonuses, and benefits such as paid time off, commuter expenses, and continuing education. Focusing on the value added by lawyers is essential to job satisfaction. This value adds to a company’s success and provides employees with recognition for their hard work, which can contribute to job satisfaction. When companies value the contribution of lawyers and provide meaningful recognition for it through various forms of compensation, job satisfaction is likely to increase.
Job satisfaction among lawyers is influenced by the degree to which their work values are recognized and fulfilled. Important factors include:
  • Compensation and recognition: Fair and competitive compensation and recognition for their contributions demonstrate that the firm values lawyers' work values.
  • Alignment with firm values: Lawyers who feel their work values align with the firm's values experience a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction in their work.
  • Opportunities for growth and development: Providing avenues for professional growth, training, and development supports lawyers' work values of excellence and continuous improvement.
  • Work-life balance support: Supporting work-life balance through flexible work arrangements, time off policies, and wellness initiatives addresses lawyers' work values regarding balance and personal well-being.
Key points:
  • Recognition and compensation that reflects lawyers' work values contribute to job satisfaction and retention.
  • Aligning individual work values with firm values fosters a sense of purpose and commitment.
  • Opportunities for growth and work-life balance support enhance job satisfaction among lawyers.
Sample scenario: A law firm regularly acknowledges and rewards lawyers for their outstanding performance and commitment to upholding ethical standards. Lawyers receive competitive salaries, bonuses, and benefits such as paid time off and support for professional development. These recognition and compensation practices demonstrate that the firm values the lawyers' work and contributions, leading to increased job satisfaction and loyalty.

The Impact of Problem Resolution Styles on Lawyer Attraction and Retention

Problem-resolution styles significantly affect the attraction and retention of lawyers by clients. Lawyers who can resolve disputes through negotiation and compromise rather than litigation appeal to clients seeking a good deal for both parties. This ability to be a problem-solver encourages clients to come back repeatedly because they trust their lawyer’s judgment. Furthermore, an entire team of negotiators demonstrates more professionalism, making them look much better in front of their colleagues, superiors, and office competitors. For this reason, lawyers’ job satisfaction related to problem resolution styles should have a prominent focus when determining pay structure and salary. Pay is one of the top concerns that lawyers face concerning work-life balance, so lawyers must be adequately compensated for their skills in successfully resolving problems with entirely happy teams on both sides.

Problem-resolution styles employed by lawyers significantly impact attracting and retaining clients. Key points to consider include:
  • Negotiation and compromise: Lawyers who can skillfully resolve disputes through negotiation and compromise are attractive to clients seeking mutually beneficial outcomes.
  • Trust and repeat business: Effective problem-solvers prioritizing finding win-win solutions build trust with clients, leading to repeat business and client loyalty.
  • Professionalism and reputation: Lawyers who demonstrate professionalism and effective problem-solving skills enhance their reputation among colleagues, superiors, and competitors.
  • Pay structure and recognition: Aligning pay structures and recognition programs with lawyers' problem-resolution skills and success reinforces the importance of these values and contributes to job satisfaction.
Key points:
  • Problem resolution styles impact a lawyer's ability to attract and retain clients.
  • Effective problem-solving skills build trust and encourage repeat business.
  • Aligning pay and recognition with problem-resolution skills enhances job satisfaction.
Sample scenario: A lawyer successfully negotiates a complex settlement between two parties, securing a favorable outcome for both. The clients appreciate the lawyer's ability to find creative solutions and reach a mutually beneficial agreement. As a result, they recommend the lawyer to others and continue seeking their services in the future. The lawyer's problem-resolution skills and reputation contribute to their job satisfaction and success within the firm.

How You Can Improve Your Firm’s Values to Fit Your Employees.

In hiring for a law firm, it is essential to define the organization’s values and ensure workers understand them; this makes a great difference in finding employees that fit the firm. Hiring individuals with bachelor’s degrees in business or related fields who can bring legal expertise to the table is beneficial for client interactions and dispute resolution. But it is also important to remember that hiring should not be focused solely on educational degrees and experience; rather, soft skills such as problem-solving, communication, and empathy should all play a role in determining an applicant's suitability for a job. These qualities ultimately determine whether or not an employee will fit in well and succeed at your law firm. In addition, researching candidates’ backgrounds can help anticipate how they may behave under stress, ultimately allowing you to determine successful careers among your workers.

To improve the alignment of a law firm's values with its employees, consider the following strategies:
  • Clearly define and communicate the firm's values: Articulate the firm's core values and ensure that employees understand and resonate with them.
  • Look beyond educational degrees and experience: Consider soft skills such as problem-solving, communication, and empathy when evaluating potential hires. These qualities contribute to a positive work environment and client satisfaction.
  • Conduct thorough background research: Anticipate how potential employees may behave under stress or challenging situations to determine if they align with the firm's values.
  • Foster a supportive work culture: Create an environment that promotes collaboration, teamwork, and work-life balance to support employees' well-being and professional growth.
Key points:
  • Clearly defined values and effective communication foster a strong alignment between the firm and its employees.
  • Evaluating soft skills and cultural fit during hiring ensures compatibility with the firm's values.
  • A supportive work culture that prioritizes work-life balance enhances job satisfaction and retention.
Sample scenario: A law firm reevaluates its hiring practices and prioritizes candidates who demonstrate excellent communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and empathy during interviews. By looking beyond the candidates' educational backgrounds and experience, the firm focuses on finding individuals who align with its values of collaboration and client-centered approach. This shift leads to recruiting lawyers who thrive in the firm's culture and contribute to a positive work environment.

Improving Law Firm Problem-Resolution Processes

Law firms strive to create solution-oriented practices that resolve conflict and encourage their core values. Professional development teaching should go beyond the court and synthesize a solution-finding approach derived from knowledge gained in law school and outside the courtroom. By creating a marketing plan that emphasizes problem resolution, these firms accurately portray themselves as solution-seeking company while ensuring future clients understand their value as adaptive service providers. While some lawyers lack the experience needed in solution-finding due to a lack of a bachelor’s degree in problem-solving, more career development courses can be given to ensure attorneys can quickly respond with sound decisions for all parties involved when addressing conflict. Improving problem-resolution processes will ultimately lead to positive client outcomes and greater success for the firm.

To enhance problem-resolution processes within a law firm, consider implementing the following measures:
  • Provide comprehensive professional development: Offer training programs beyond legal expertise and incorporate problem-solving skills derived from law school and beyond.
  • Emphasize a solution-oriented approach: Develop a marketing plan highlighting the firm's problem-solving capabilities, positioning it as a solution-seeking service provider.
  • Offer career development courses: Provide additional training opportunities for lawyers to improve their problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • Continuously evaluate and refine processes: Regularly assess problem-resolution processes' effectiveness, seek feedback from clients and lawyers, and make necessary adjustments.
Key points:
  • Comprehensive professional development supports lawyers in acquiring problem-solving skills.
  • A solution-oriented approach enhances the firm's reputation and attracts clients.
  • Offering career development courses strengthens lawyers' problem-resolution abilities.
  • Regular evaluation and refinement of processes contribute to positive client outcomes.
Sample scenario: A law firm invests in professional development programs that offer training in negotiation techniques, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution methods. The firm incorporates a problem-resolution-focused marketing plan, emphasizing its commitment to finding practical and efficient client solutions. Additionally, the firm organizes regular workshops and seminars on problem-solving, allowing lawyers to further develop their skills. These initiatives improve problem-resolution processes, client satisfaction, and the firm's overall success.


Work values are essential for both lawyers and law firms. By defining their values, lawyers can assess how well they fit those of the firm in which they work or to which they seek to belong. When there is an effective match with the employer’s work values, job satisfaction (and retention) is increased for the lawyer. Assessing a firm’s problem-resolution processes and styles provides further insight into maximizing value creation within the practice. Finally, lawyers can improve their work value fit through productive self-reflection regarding their values and exploring alternate options when entrenched problems arise that force a stark choice between professional growth and personal comfort. Ultimately, understanding yourself, your desired environment, and how they fit together effectively enhances the lawyer-firm relationship –– leading to greater satisfaction personally and professionally.