August 15, 2012
More than 2,000 Latham & Watkins personnel from all corners of the globe hit the streets in May 2012 to take part in the firm’s annual Spring Challenge. Part of LiveWell Latham, the firm’s health and wellness initiative, the challenge invited participants to record their daily exercise activity using an online tracking system.
By the Numbers
Each Latham office fielded a team for the challenge and teams were organized into divisions based on office size. Participants wore pedometers that tracked every step they took throughout the day. They logged any additional exercise — anything from cycling to horseback riding to playing Wii fitness qualified — manually on the site.
“People were very into it this year,” said Director of Global Benefits Annette Kuper. “The pedometers helped because they provided valuable metrics to help track participant activity and progress.”
Now in its fourth year, the Spring Challenge is rapidly expanding. “Participation has definitely increased in 2012,” said Global Wellness Manager Beverly Gifford. “Last year we had about 1,520 participants and this year we had almost 2,300.”
Competition Breeds Creativity and Cooperation
In addition to good old-fashioned bragging rights, various raffle prizes motivated teams to get creative when it came to earning some extra steps. In Singapore there was an organized two-mile lunchtime walk to a bakery, in Paris it was table tennis tournaments during lunch and in San Francisco participants completed the “Vertical Challenge,” a 23-floor stair climb in their office building.
It wasn’t all about competition though. “The Spring Challenge really goes a long way to promoting firm unity,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Josh Friedlander. “These days our firm is spread across three continents and 31 locations and this global event really brings us together.”
A Wellness Leader in the Legal Arena
In addition to the Spring Challenge, LiveWell Latham, which launched in the United States at the end of 2010 and is expanding to Europe, Asia and the Middle East, provides an array of health and wellness programs for personnel. Upcoming global offerings include onsite flu shots and a health risk assessment campaign.
The LiveWell Latham initiative is somewhat unique in the world of law firms. “There are a number of organizations in corporate America that have formal wellness programs, but, to date, I am only aware of one other US-based firm our size that has a formal wellness program,” said Gifford.
In fact, the initiative was developed with Latham’s distinctive culture in mind. “Our vision statement was to develop a dynamic wellness program aligned with Latham’s commitment to excellence and to its people,” said Gifford. “The most important goals of the program are to encourage healthy behaviors in order to achieve optimal quality of life and to use health and wellness as a way to promote firm culture and unity.”