In its second annual edition of Northeast Trailblazers, The American Lawyer has recognized Katten CEO Noah Heller among professionals in the region "who have moved the needle in the legal industry." Launched in 2021, the Trailblazer series was developed as a special supplement to spotlight individuals who are agents of change in their respective practice areas.
In the 2022 list of Northeast Trailblazers, Noah's profile depicted his deep commitment to the wellness of Katten's attorneys and business professionals and dedication to building a culture of well-being throughout the firm. As a leader in the legal profession, Noah considers one of his chief responsibilities to be the promotion of mental and physical well-being among Katten's employees.
"I have aimed to bring consistent focus and new thinking to long-standing issues in Biglaw, among them a need to access all available treatments when the intense pressures of Biglaw life cause anxiety, depression and other mental and physical health conditions," he told The American Lawyer.
Noah explained that before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Katten launched programming to help the firm's team members boost their overall well-being as they face the daily demands of meeting and exceeding client expectations. Katten's wellness initiatives have garnered a positive response, according to Noah, who noted that feedback has highlighted how the programming and resources have helped many individuals "cope with their stressors during the pandemic and increase productivity in an all-remote work environment."
Katten is a founding sponsor of the Institute for Well-Being in Law, which is dedicated to bettering the legal profession by focusing on a holistic approach to well-being. Among the firm's initiatives is Katten Well-Being 360: Live Well, Work Well, Be Well – a firm-wide wellness program that kicked off in 2019 and is aimed at providing continuous support and resources across numerous areas of well-being. Other initiatives include KattenFlex, the firm's new flexible return-to-office policy, and an annual $500 wellness stipend that attorneys and business professionals can put toward resources that help nurture their individual well-being.
"It is my hope that over time, the stigma attached to openly acknowledging, discussing and treating mental health issues, particularly in the legal field, will dissipate and the levers we pull to address them will include all available options," Noah told The American Lawyer. "Through our KattenFlex policy, we’re seizing the rare chance to redefine 'normal,' letting our team members say when in-person work is necessary or wanted, providing flexibility and workplace balance while keeping in mind, as we have throughout the pandemic, that client service is paramount."
"Northeast Trailblazers," The American Lawyer, June/July 2022