Understanding the Culture in a Law Firm

Law Firm

In all professions, a healthy workplace environment is essential to an office’s increase in productivity. One of the key factors that make a good workplace is the employees’ interpersonal relationships. Also, the nature of how these people find themselves relating to the firm as an institution is important. These interrelationships define the culture in the organization.

Now, you may find yourself wondering what law firm culture is? Is it similar to societal culture? In a way, yes, in the sense that firm culture is like a fabric so intricately woven from values, standards, and goals to history and tradition.

Given how some of these factors are complex and entirely subjective, it is understandable that culture may vary among the many corporate law offices and defense law firms in Kent and other cities in the U.S.

Moreover, firms fall in a spectrum that has an eat-what-you-kill culture on one end wherein partners view themselves as practitioners working in a shared space. Then, there is an egalitarian culture where partners put the needs of the firm and clients before their own. Some firms may be classified as either extremes, while most often fall in between.

Focusing on the organizational culture, the components that make it up are known to play important roles in the attitude of the firm and its members toward disruptions and changes to what is considered the norm in the workplace. It is important for a firm to determine what kind of culture it possesses in order to fully utilize its cultural strengths, as well as modify the ones that hinder firm success. To do so, the following components need to be reflected upon:


A sign of a great firm culture is a coherent vision statement. These phrases that most people may consider irrelevant are the driving force that guide a company’s values and provide its members with a certain purpose. Consequently, that purpose orients every decision made by the members of the firm, from senior partners to associates. A vision that is deeply authentic may even help orient potential clients.


The values that a firm possesses are the core of its culture. Firms need to clearly articulate their concrete set of values. These offer guidelines on the behaviors and mindsets needed to achieve the firm’s vision. Things such as required work ethic, as well as empowerment and diversity in the workplace, may be found in a firm’s values.

Governance and Leadership

Strong leadership and governance procedures in a firm are crucial in its survival in a complex, and rapidly changing environment. The concepts that leadership and governance are surrounded by encompass strategic directions, plans and policies, effective oversight, regulation, and partnerships that the firm may take up.


The philosophy that the firm upholds should clearly explain how its members practice the law. A firm philosophy may be an unwritten attitude, or a specific and concretely written one that defines how the members of the firm will act and interact with each other, and how they will provide service to clients.

While there are other components that may be considered essential to firm culture, these four points can provide any law office the foundation needed in understanding the existing culture, and revitalizing or reshaping it.

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