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In early 2004, Peter Kalis, chairman of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, took a look at the waistlines of the firm’s lawyers and staff and noticed something disturbing: an excess of flab. “Many of them are just flat-out obese,” notes Michael Sullivan, the firm’s chief administrative officer. The main reason, he says, was that long hours at work were causing many to live unhealthy lifestyles. Kirkpatrick decided to attack the issue, signing Cleveland-based WellCorp to a six-figure contract to improve the health of lawyers and staff in the firm’s 11 U.S. offices. The firm swapped out vending machines that offer candy for ones that feature carrot sticks and low-calorie sandwiches. The food at meetings, holiday parties, and retreats was also overhauled. “You don’t see steaks with sauces anymore,” Sullivan says. Of course, the changes weren’t universally popular. “At the onset of things there was a lot of grousing,” he says. “I almost went into the witness protection program.” As a compromise, cookies are still allowed. The firm also sprung for health screenings, smoker-cessation classes, discounted gym memberships, and, yes, Weight Watchers. In late September the firm released data on how four of its largest offices were slimming down. The best: Boston, where attorneys and staff have lost almost 530 pounds in Weight Watchers. The porkiest? Yep, its 145-lawyer D.C. office, which lost a paltry 93 pounds.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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