Core Values in the Workplace: How They Shape the Way New Associates Grow in Their Practice

By Rebecca Bentley, Esq.

Hanging on the lunchroom wall of our firm is a sign with five enumerated sentences: (1) Our clients are our number one focus; (2) We practice ethically; (3) We function as a team; (4) We have fun and support our community; and (5) We are continual learners. This sign, although brief, is the foundation of how our team operates in (and out) of the workplace.

In looking for a firm that is the right fit, new associates look at many factors, including work-life balance; salary; benefits; opportunities for growth, among others. They may also ask: “Do my values align with those of this firm?” I have found this to be an extremely important question to ask, as the core values of the firm you choose ultimately shape the way you perform in your practice.

A firm that encourages new associates to embrace its core values from their first day, empowers them to embody these values throughout their career. A year into my career as a business immigration attorney, I often find myself asking: Did I do my best to get the desired outcome for our clients? Did I learn something new today? How am I using my resources and connections to better my community? How have I embodied our core values this week? This is the type of impact a list of core values and determined leadership can have within a firm.

In embodying our firm’s core values, our team now functions as a well-oiled machine. We recognize that we all play an important part in providing our services to our clients, and—in line with core value number four—we do not forget to have fun. Happy team members ultimately provide better quality services to clients, benefiting everyone. It is also the reason our firm has been voted Business First’s “Best Places to Work.” A strong set of core values promoted within a firm can make all the difference for everyone, especially new associates. At the end of the day, it may all come down to five sentences.