It’s rare for top law firm partners to open up about their struggles with mental health issues. However, Simon Marco, managing partner of Morris Manning & Martin, a 200-person Atlanta-based law firm, did just that at a company-wide meeting last fall. When he became managing partner in 2019, Marco was dealing with a lot of work-related stress as well as the stress of raising two children at home. He spoke candidly about his struggles and encouraged others to seek help as needed. In an effort to eliminate stigma and make it easier for employees to ask for help, his company has hired an on-site therapist for free hour-long sessions. They have done 150 sessions with a wide range of people, including partners, colleagues, and staff.
While some major companies now offer on-site therapists, most do not. In a profession where stress, fatigue, and depression are inevitable, it’s no surprise that lawyers are likely to report feeling burned out. Lawyers are also more likely to suffer from mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. However, law firms can take a proactive approach to mental health by offering more immediate and easily accessible relief, such as on-site therapy.
Leaders speaking out on these issues could make a difference. Simon Marco’s actions have been praised as outstanding and could pave the way for others. “The mental health movement is growing, but its message is not yet fully reflected,” says Patrick Krill, a consultant who advises businesses on mental health and addiction issues. While not all companies are able to offer on-site therapists, there is a strong business case for doing so. It helps increase employee retention and demonstrates that the company cares about its employees.