Sabbaticals Provide Creative Outlet for Lawyers, Shook tells The American Lawyer

The American Lawyer recently featured Shook, Hardy & Bacon for its innovative sabbatical program, which allows partners to disengage from work for three months and return recharged to serve clients. Shook Chair Madeleine McDonough noted that the firm instituted mandatory sabbaticals in the mid-1980s when Bill Shinn was in leadership.

“People have written books, they taught classes, went back to school for a summer program,” said Shook Chair Madeleine McDonough. “Most people tend to spend time with their families.”

The national legal publication featured several Shook partners who have taken sabbaticals including McDonough, Houston Managing Partner Jennise Stubbs, Houston Partner Pete Henk and Product Liability Litigation Co-Chair Walter Cofer.

“You get out of the way to give younger lawyers the opportunity for client contact and to stretch,” said Cofer.

Shook is among 39 law firms across the country committed to take part in the American Bar Association’s Well-Being Pledge Campaign, which aims to reduce substance abuse and mental health issues in the legal profession.

“I really think sabbaticals help with the ailments that are going on in our profession,” stated Stubbs. “It seems like a no-brainer to me.”