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MONEY FOR NOTHING? Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports that top firms are now paying their people as much as $1,000 to stay away from work. Sounds like a cushy gig, right? Actually, it’s an acknowledgement that being a lawyer is often anything but. For instance, Kirkland & Ellis has announced $1,000 vouchers for associates and nonequity partners to spend away from the office, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is offering special paid time off, as well as on-demand mental health counseling, among other arrangements for lawyers and staff. “I mean, it’s really quite amazing how busy firms are, and how hard associates are working. And you couple that with the stresses of the pandemic, and that’s really a perfect storm,” Michelle Fivel, a recruiter and partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa who places associates, told Malone. “So, I don’t know if it’s a renewed push, but an acknowledgment that, ‘Holy-moly, our people are really under a lot of stress.’” But these perks aren’t just meant to recognize the pressure lawyers are under because of heavy workloads and the pandemic. They’re also aimed at aiding recruitment and retention, Fivel said, because they send the message that firms care about attorney wellbeing.

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