Many attorneys have hair. And while hair upkeep is a day-to-day professional obligation, it can still present challenges. Whether it is using the appropriate hair products or brushing dandruff off your dark suit, focusing on hair can increase law practice success. Nevertheless, when head lice strike, your work to keep a positive hair focus could be ruined. Worse, when confronted with head lice infestation, law firms often cave to embarrassment and attempt to hide the problem, exacerbating any recovery. Relax. There is hope. Here is what you can do.
Shave Your Head. Many people shave their heads to support loved ones who are undergoing cancer treatment or other life-threatening illness. While lice are not quite life-threatening, they sure do itch. Consider a shaved-head approach to eliminate lice from the firm. You can ask affected family members to shave their heads, not only for support but also as a preemptive measure to make sure the lice problem does not move off-site, only to return a short time later from family members who hosted the lice for a short time.
Keep Combing Equipment in Stock. Keep a suitable supply of nit-picking combs available, one for each attorney and staff member in the firm. Shop for combs as seriously as you shop for staplers. In the same way you pick up a stapler and consider its heft, aerodynamics and fastening power, do the same with delousing combs. But focus on their nit-reduction power and efficiency, not on whether the combs can fasten documents together. And don’t be cheap. We recommend a professional stainless steel louse, nit and nymph comb, such as the Nit Free Terminator.
Monkey Around. Most law firms consider lice infestation a real downer. It doesn’t have to be. Use your head lice problem as an opportunity to build office morale. Each day, have a 1-2 hour monkey session, where staff and attorneys sit around and pick nits off each other, similar to what monkeys do in the zoo. But make sure you dispose of the nits properly and keep coffee and other foodstuffs away from the designated nitpicking area.
Use Appropriate Signage. Many law firms try to hide the problem of head lice, which can lead to surreptitious head-scratching, spying on colleagues in the bathroom, and bizarre explanations to clients about staff behavior. Don’t go there. Own up to the problem and embrace it. Sponsor a coloring contest among staff to come up with posters that reinforce a team-oriented approach. Hang the posters around the office and wear buttons that show your firm’s distaste for nits and nymphs. Finally, consider adding an email signature to emails to call attention to the lice issue and to show your firm’s commitment to eliminating head lice. A short and powerful message in an email signature can tell clients you understand modern-day issues and are able to work effectively through them.
Fumigate Visitors. As a last resort, consider fumigating visitors to the office to maintain a lice-free environment. Most clients and visitors should understand this approach, as they have likely encountered lice issues in other areas of their lives, such as a school, a commune, or jail. Be prepared, however, for some clients who strongly object to lice fumigation. Be firm but don’t back down. If clients or potential clients continue to object, it may be a sign that your firm is not a good fit for their needs.
With advance planning and our five-point lice-prevention strategy, you should be able to concentrate on the positive relationships with hair and build a successful law practice around it. But don’t ignore lice as an issue. Once ignored, lice can strike any time and anywhere. Be prepared, watchful, and proactive.