teamwork in law firms

One of the United States’ most iconic sporting events is about to take place on March 3. This annual event may not draw the crowds of the Super Bowl or March Madness, but it does celebrate skill, ruggedness, determination, and teamwork. Participants must front thousands of dollars to compete for fame, glory, and a grand prize that totaled over $50,000 last year. What yearly competition is this? The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Each year, the Iditarod pits teams of sled dogs and their mushers against one another as they race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Whether you are a fan of sled dogs and mushing or not, the anticipated start of this storied and legendary contest is a fitting time to reflect on the benefits of teamwork for your law firm. 

The Fascinating History of the Iditarod

The modern Iditarod race did not start until 1973, but the story of this famous route goes back several generations earlier. The route that is now covered by the race began as a service route for delivering supplies and goods to various mining camps and trading posts between 1880 and 1920. This was during the height of the great gold rush in Alaska. 

Prior to the race that bears its name, the Iditarod Trail was perhaps most famous for the 1925 Serum Run. 

In 1925, an outbreak of diphtheria among the children of Nome, Alaska, threatened to turn into an epidemic. The serum necessary to treat the disease was located in Nenana, having been transported there from Anchorage. Because of the harsh Alaskan winters, there was no way to transport the serum to Nome other than via dog sleds.

The solution was to have teams of dog mushers and their sled dogs positioned at relay points along portions of the Iditarod Trail. A team with the serum shipment would travel as hard and as fast as they could until they met with the next team in the relay, who would then take the shipment and continue. 

The mission demanded bravery, determination, skill, and commitment from man and dog alike. The dog sled teams needed to work as one cohesive unit in order to succeed in their mission.

And succeed the teams did. Delivering over 300,000 vials of serum to Nome without breaking a single one, the dog sled teams completed a 674-mile trek — a journey that normally would take weeks — in about five days. This was in spite of the difficult weather conditions, which included temperatures well below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

An animated film titled Balto was released in theaters in December 1995. This film tells the story of one of the 1925 Serum Run’s most famous canine participants, Balto, who led the sled dog team that completed the final relay of the Serum Run. 

There are also other references to Balto and other sled dogs in print and visual media, including the 2019 Disney movie Togo (commemorating Togo, another sled dog who ran a segment of the Run in 1925).

This amazing feat saved Nome and the surrounding communities from what could have been a disaster. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race honors those selfless dog sled teams who faced unthinkable obstacles to help communities in need.

Similarities of Operating a Sled Dog Team and a Law Firm

Before you dismiss the story of the Iditarod Race as an interesting but irrelevant bit of history trivia, consider the characteristics needed to succeed as a dog sled team and as a law firm. 

One of the primary reasons the sled dog teams were successful is that each musher and their dogs worked as a cohesive team. 

The musher knew the capabilities of his team, what drove them, and how to extract their best performance. Similarly, the dogs trusted their musher, knew his voice, and knew what was expected of them. And each sled dog team could depend on every other member of the relay to fulfill their responsibilities without oversight.

Now, consider what a well-running law firm looks like. You may have several different types of professionals in your firm: lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, paralegals, and administrative assistants. The more these people all work together and toward the same goal, the more efficient and successful the firm is likely to be. 

When one member of the team does not carry their load, or if one member tries to do all the work of a multi-person task, the team suffers. Not only does the team suffer, but the overarching goal of having a smooth, efficient, and effective law firm operation is jeopardized.

Iditarod’s Moral for Modern Lawyers

The story of the Iditarod race and its history can serve to inspire lawyers about the possibilities when they are connected to the right team members. When you have skilled team members who are committed to the same goal as you and are ready to work together, things that were believed to be impossible suddenly become possible.

Finding the right team members can be a challenge, however. Skilled legal professionals may not be readily available in your area. Adding to the challenges of building a law firm team is that you may not have much ability to know which prospective team members will be helpful to you and which will not be. 

Woven Legal exists to help match you and your firm with the paralegals, legal assistants, intake specialists, and others you need to run your practice well. 

We fill your support staffing needs so that you are not left to try to evaluate and hire the right people on your own while also working to run your practice. All of our candidates have completed a significant qualification process to ascertain their skills and knowledge.

Let us help you fill your open staffing needs. Contact Woven Legal and request your free discovery call to get started meeting your firm’s newest team members.

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