After nearly 30 years as a litigation attorney, Clark Goodman decided to hang up his attorney cap, and switch into the world of legal recruiting for the national firm, Latitude, when it launched a Charlotte office in January 2023.
Goodman, who was previously the Charlotte office managing partner at Womble Bond Dickinson, is the founder and leader of Latitude’s Charlotte office, which will serve legal departments and law firms in the Carolinas and across the nation.
Latitude has seen great success in the past year, opening five new locations since January 2022, including Charlotte, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco and St. Louis.
Latitude’s goal is to work to help firms balance staffing in a cost efficient way while creating a more sustainable work environment for attorneys’ mental health and wellbeing.
While broadly, lawyers are known to experience mental health struggles at a high rate, awareness of the problem seems to be increasing, as firms take more tangible action to provide mental health support. By providing firms with additional attorneys when needed, firms are less likely to overwork their attorneys and negatively contribute to their mental health.
“The direct benefits are that we provide another legal staffing resource for law firms and legal departments, and opportunities for legal professionals who may want or need alternative career paths,” Goodman said. “A less obvious benefit which aligns with my own passions is to support the health and wellness of professionals.”
A challenge that Goodman faced while working in law firm leadership, was forecasting work demands. Firm leadership is often tasked with deciding the number of attorneys their firms are going to need at a given time, which has proved difficult to maintain the right balance of staffing, when caseloads are in constant fluctuation.
“You want to have enough [staff] to meet the demand efficiently, without carrying excess capacity,” Goodman said. “So, you have this constant tension between maximizing utilization – keeping everybody busy and maintaining sufficient capacities to ensure that you can provide outstanding service and retain your best people. Latitude helps its’ clients overcome this challenge by providing the right legal professionals for the time that they are needed, in a way that is cost effective. This helps law firms and legal departments scale their teams to the existing demands without having to maintain excess capacity at all times just in case there’s a surge in demand.”
By providing a viable and cost-effective way to ensure adequate staffing to meet temporary surges in demand, Latitude hopes to help employers in the legal profession support the wellness of their valuable team members.
Goodman’s extensive background in litigation and law firm management, aligns perfectly with Latitudes “peer to peer,” service model. This means that Latitude aims to staff former practicing attorneys and law firm decision makers, to ensure that clients are being provided high quality service, by a professional who understand their client’s situation.
“Our niche really is this peer-to-peer service model of having people like me, who are experienced legal professionals and have been in decision making roles, helping provide the talent to our counterparts who are still decision makers in law firms and legal departments in a way that that helps them meet their staffing demands,” Goodman said.
While a big change from practicing law, at its core, this new position similarly aligns with Goodman’s passions for problem solving.
“As a litigator, I found fulfillment in helping clients solve problems,” Goodman said. “Sometimes that solution was a successful legal argument and sometimes it was a hard fought trial or arbitration. In my new role with Latitude, I’m going to continue helping clients solve problems. Instead of having to deal with the challenge of a legal dispute, I’m going to be helping them address the challenge of maintaining the right level of staffing in a way that’s cost effective and promotes the preservation of the existing team.”