Get a life or a semblance of a life. That’s the message from the top at Boston’s Goodwin Procter & Hoar. Each year, managing partner Regina Pisa sees to it that lawyers in every department at her firm, spouses and kids in tow, get away to the country for a few days, to ski the mountains of Vermont or to breathe in the Cape’s ocean air. “These weekend retreats are a wonderful chance to get to know each other and our families as people, away from the office and the pressures of the daily routine,” says Pisa, “I’ve watched entire families grow up. It builds esprit de corps.”

Pisa’s message trickles down daily in other ways: Last year the firm hired a locally prominent chef to give cooking lessons to first-year associates and partners; it also keeps on retainer a family counselor. Goodwin Proctor isn’t the only firm taking an unconventional and generous look at associate perks these days. Traditional benefits like a 401(k) plan and health insurance have long been standard fare at most large law firms. But many firms are now sweetening them with such quality-of-life perks as special bonuses, child care, social club subsidies, sabbaticals, gym memberships, concierges, mental health services, nanny finders, yoga classes, in-office massages, basketball courts, and shoe shines (see our list of perks at the Am Law 200 firms).

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