24 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – APRIL 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM believe that by nurturing an atmosphere of respect and understanding, we can create a supportive environment that naturally enhances productivity and mental health,” says co-managing partner Darani Vachanavuttivong. Darani adds that this is a philosophy embedded in the firm’s daily operations and management approach. “We also regularly host workshops and other opportunities for everyone in our team to learn new ways to optimise both onthe-job productivity and their personal lives, such as financial planning, health, and wellness,” she notes. Weerawong C&P seeks to protect its employees’ mental well-being by offering health support programmes, such as counselling services and wellness initiatives, which aim to create a supportive work environment that promotes both productivity and mental wellness, according to Sunyaluck. Law firm leaders are also cognizant of the positive impact that flexible working arrangements have on employee morale and mental fitness, a practice that has endured the pandemic time and has gradually become new normal for corporations. Weerawong C&P has been implementing flexible work arrangements to accommodate the diverse needs of its talent, including remote work options and relatively flexible scheduling. Tilleke & Gibbins also has flexible work arrangements in place to help team members manage their busy lives. Azmi & Associates encourages its employees to take advantage of the firm’s flexible working offerings, including remote work options and flexible scheduling, to accommodate their individual needs and obligations. At Drew & Napier, all employees can opt to work from home. “Senior lawyers are mindful that legal work can be unrelenting and having flexible work arrangements and very generous leave entitlement go a long way towards keeping the morale in the firm high,” says Maniam. In addition, there’s a dedicated team of lawyers who organise social events several times a year to increase the camaraderie within the firm, he adds. While acknowledging the advantages of a flexible working environment, Chandler MHM’s Jessada also underscores the benefits of in-office interaction, which he says facilitates communication, mentoring and support. Social interaction at work is also important for creating a sense of community and strengthening bonds between employees, says Jessada. STEPPING UP THE GAME The legal markets in Asia are currently experiencing significant volatility, compounded by younger professionals embracing a renewed outlook on work, and intensifying competition from nontraditional legal service providers vying for market share. In this dynamic landscape, law firm leaders must heighten their efforts in the ongoing battle to attract and retain top talent. “The biggest challenges in attracting and retaining talent for law firms today include intense competition from other firms, evolving career expectations of younger generations, and the demand for a better work-life balance,” says Sunyaluck at Weerawong C&P. Adds Jessada at Chandler MHM, “The legal market is one which is highly competitive and reliant on having the best talent. There has also been significant growth in alternative legal service providers and in-house legal teams.” To win over the best legal minds amid these challenging conditions, a firm itself needs to, first and foremost, be resilient, trustworthy, and attentive. “The firm’s reputation in the market as a commercially successful leading law firm and a great place to work is very important,” says Jessada. “Law firm management needs to adopt a leadership approach, which means empowering and mentoring top talent to grow. Management must have good listening skills and open communication with their top talent. In a volatile legal market, it is also important to be open-minded and adaptable to change.” Tilleke & Gibbins believes management needs to lead by example to demonstrate a commitment to adaptability and WEERAWONG C&P COVER STORY