Case Study | Culture Change Package
Morrison & Foerster (“MoFo”) is a global law firm that simplifies complexity with its collective intelligence while living its shared values, shaping powerful legal strategies to move our clients’ businesses forward.
Clients include leading technology and life science companies, Fortune 100 companies, large financial institutions, investment funds, and startups.
Industry: Professional services, legal
Size: 2,200 employees
Location: Global (U.S., Asia, Europe)
Time frame: July 2019 - Present
Industry-leading global workplace mental health culture effort that engaged employees across seniority, region, and function.
Partners led the way for the industry in developing and establishing firm-wide norms.
81% of attorney and staff people managers felt more comfortable supporting colleagues with mental health.
80% of employees had a better understanding of mental health stigma.
In 2019, MoFo decided to focus on mental health as part of their long-standing history pioneering diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal industry. During the prior year, local efforts like a panel of leaders sharing personal mental health stories and the Berlin office Healthy MoFo program had sparked the conversation around mental health. MoFo looked to Mind Share Partners to help them begin developing a holistic workplace mental health strategy.
“We embarked as a firm to explore ways to better support workplace mental health. Our goal is to create awareness around the issue of mental health and a supportive environment where our people know how to navigate their own and their teams’ mental health and that they have resources available to them.”
- Brad Wine | Partner and Global Co-Chair, Litigation Dept.; Chair of Israel Practice
Since 2019, MoFo has partnered with Mind Share Partners to lead a global effort to build a solid foundation of workplace mental health awareness and skills. The year-long partnership is one of the first of its kind in the legal industry, and included:
Creation of Mental Health Steering Committee to lead the effort, comprised of senior leaders with global representation. This group also led communication efforts to build awareness for mental health and initiatives.
Assessment of existing mental health attitudes and behaviors, to build understanding, establish a baseline for measurement, and provide input into program design. Including:
Survey about mental health attitudes, prevalence, and resources with nearly 40% response rate across the firm.
Discovery interviews with MoFo employees across levels of seniority, departments, and regions.
Report of findings shared across the firm to build awareness for MoFo’s “current state” of mental health
Executive Team Sessions with the firm’s most senior leaders to align on why mental health matters at MoFo and the unique role of leaders. Participating leaders included the Firm’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Department Chairs, Office Managing Partners, Chiefs of different functions, and Directors of Administration who manage offices.
Global training to build awareness, understanding, and skills to support mental health at work. Training was modified to happen virtually given the coronavirus pandemic. Including:
Introductory Session distributed to all MoFo employees globally with a message from the Firm Chair Larren M. Nashelsky.
People Manager Trainings offered to all Partners, senior Associates, and Director/Manager level staff across the U.S., Europe, and Asia offices.
This global culture change effort engaged MoFo employees across seniority, region, and function, and sparked widespread conversation and a shift in mindsets around mental health.
Following the executive session, the firm’s senior most leaders were galvanized to create a safe and supportive environment for mental health, develop firm-wide norms to address underlying workplace stressors, and begin identifying concrete goals for supporting mental health.
People manager training (Partners, Directors, Managers, Senior Associates)
81% of people managers felt more comfortable supporting colleagues with mental health
77% had a better understanding of mental health stigma
65% felt more comfortable talking about mental health at work
“The course was both engaging and relevant. It was inspiring and thought provoking without being intrusive.”
All employee training:
80% of employees felt more comfortable supporting colleagues
80% had a better understanding of mental health stigma
60% felt more comfortable talking about mental health at work
“I think it has a lot of valuable information. I actually paused it mid-way and DID recommend it to some colleagues.”
“The session is tailored specifically to MoFo environment and culture.”
”By engaging MoFo employees across seniority, region, and function, our partnership with Mind Share Partners sparked Firm-wide conversation and a shift in leaders’ perspectives on supporting the mental health of our employees.
We believe that our work with Mind Share Partners prepared our leaders, managers, and employees to thoughtfully navigate the challenges of 2020 from the pandemic, to racial injustice, to the devastating fires in California.
This is incredibly important work. Although it can be difficult to start conversations around mental health in your firm, Mind Share Partners teaches your employees how to do this well.”
Mind Share Partners will deliver a post-survey to help MoFo more fully understand the initial impact of the work, and provide input into future work. In the future, MoFo anticipates a second-phase engagement to continue building the overall mental health strategy and integrate support for mental health more fully into MoFo’s culture, systems and practices.
For other firms starting their own work in mental health, MoFo advises: “This is incredibly important work. Although it can be difficult to start conversations around mental health in your firm, Mind Share Partners teaches your employees how to do this well. Our employees were incredibly receptive to the training and appreciative that we are investing in this area.”