ABA Journal excerpt: “In Grim Times, a Search for Joy in Law Practice Gains Ground”

From the February 2011 ABA Journal, an excerpt quoting Bartlit Beck partner, Hamilton Hill in an article entitled “Hunting Happy:  In Grim Times, a Search for Joy in Law Practice Gains Ground” –

But as the happiness movement takes hold, some firms are promoting more social interaction, creating pro bono programs and simply being more playful.  Chicago-based boutique Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott even has a half basketball court that doubles as a conference room, a feature in place since shortly after the firm opened in 1993.

“It’s a relaxed setting that . . . inspires more creativity and teamwork,” says partner Hamilton Hill, 35, who was working on the treadmill desk in his Chicago office as he spoke.  “It’s not a bunch of people rigidly sitting there.”

The firm, which has nearly 70 attorneys in Chicago and Denver, has cultivated this environment, an effort that also includes not using the billable-hour model.  And Hill – who asserts he is “absolutely” happy practicing law – says that this allows him to enjoy all the “wonderful and great” parts of his profession.

“What we’ve tried to do is strip away a lot of the bad things about being a lawyer,” he says.”