From the President: We can't do it all by ourselves

Make sure your team members know they matter and make a difference.

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  • | 12:30 a.m. January 5, 2023
  • The Bar Bulletin
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Fraz Ahmed
Fraz Ahmed

By Fraz Ahmed | Jacksonville Bar Association president

For most law firms, the fiscal year ends with the calendar year. Everyone takes an inventory of the past year and compares it with prior years. We tend to focus on numbers and look at areas where we can improve.

However, we should never lose sight of what truly makes our businesses and practices more successful while simultaneously making our lives less stressful.

That answer would be the people who work with us. This is especially true in the legal profession.

We can’t do it all by ourselves. Our paralegals, legal assistants and support staff are our right hand. They keep us moving day in and day out. On the day-to-day, my team keeps the train on the tracks.

There are times we may take it for granted, and I’ve certainly been guilty of that.

One of the things I enjoy most is getting my team’s input on trial strategy. I love hearing their thoughts on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to a particular set of facts for a case. They often provide invaluable insight.

Most importantly, they know they matter and know what they do really makes a difference in the outcome of our client’s case.  

Being and keeping ourselves busy is the nature of our profession. Whether it’s our trial calendars, depositions, motion hearings, client meetings or critical deadlines, we all typically feel like we are spread pretty thin.

Unfortunately, when we are busy, showing employee appreciation is one of the first things we neglect. I’ll be the first to attest to that and recognize that needs to change.

As we start the new year, we should make employee appreciation and recognition a priority. It’s not just good for employees but it also benefits employers.

Surveys have shown that when businesses make employee recognition a priority, 73% of employees are less likely to “always” or “very often” feel burned out; 56% are less likely to be looking for a new job; and 44% are more likely to be “thriving” in their life overall.

Showing employee recognition and appreciation will undoubtedly produce tremendous results in the workplace, so why not make it a top priority?

Let me start the year off the right way by thanking my team of Kelly Anderson, Stephanie Hiers, Mario Deleon, Cynthia White and Katelyn Wilson. Our team is stronger because of each one of you and our clients benefit every day from your hard work.

As for the Jacksonville Bar Association, we already are halfway through our fiscal year.

We’ve had a busy start to the year. The JBA team has done an incredible job keeping our events running smoothly.

We kicked it all off with our 125th Anniversary Celebration. It was great to see the generations of JBA members come together and celebrate our organization.

We also helped plan and organize the House District Candidate Forum, the Sheriff’s Debate, Past President’s Reception, Lunch and Learns and many more events.

Thank you to our JBA team of Craig Shoup, Carla Ortiz-Ramos and Tony Adams. You are the beating heart of the JBA.

Thank you to the local judiciary for your continuous support and participation in JBA programming. Your involvement and guidance set our circuit apart from any other in the state.

Thank you to the board of governors and our committee chairs and co-chairs for the hours you devote to serve the JBA.

I couldn’t be more excited for the future of our organization.

Fraz Ahmed, a partner and board-certified trial attorney at Coker Law, practices in plaintiff personal injury including automobile accidents, wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, premises liability and negligent security.