Almost 20 percent of lawyers left their job in the past 18 months, and another 10 percent are considering a change.
That’s clear evidence that The Great Law Firm Reshuffle sparked by the pandemic is far from over.
But why are lawyers leaving? The answer to that question is less clear. The top two reasons, according to Clio’s Legal Trends Report, were more money (37 percent) and better work-life balance (37 percent).
“Dissatisfaction with work-life balance held equal weight with salary dissatisfaction,” said Clio CEO Jack Newton in his keynote address at the annual Clio Conference. “Closely behind was a dislike for one’s company or manager. This is a big shift that illustrates the role law firm culture plays in the hiring and retention of employees. Much of this could be attributed to the stressors triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Newton said these numbers are a “rallying cry to create work environments that support legal professionals’ well being.”
How to do that?
“One way is to provide legal professionals with the flexibility to work on their own terms,” said Newton. “Seventy-six percent of lawyers want to be able to choose the hours they work. The legal industry must accept that attracting and retaining top talent is not solely about providing top pay, it’s also about creating a law firm culture that reflects the needs of clients and colleagues.”
Other reasons for law firm exits, according to the Legal Trends Report: dislike firm (32 percent); dislike manager (23 percent); dislike type of work (21 percent); dislike colleagues (16 percent); relocation (13 percent); retirement (7 percent); taking time off (3 percent).
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Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance
“The legal industry is making a shift from a hustle culture to a more balanced environment where lawyers can meet the demands of legal practice without compromising personal wellness, but it takes work,” according to legal marketer Kamron Sanders.
Following are some wellness pointers from The National Law Review:
Know your limits. “The key to finding work-life balance is knowing what that balance looks like,” writes Sanders. “Assess your limits and consider your maximum working hours each week to ensure you can deliver quality work without feeling overwhelmed or compromising your personal time.”
Get plenty of rest. Mom was right to insist you get at least eight hours of sleep nightly.
Exercise. You don’t need to join a gym or build a workout room in your office. Start simple. Take a walk during lunch. Use hand weights while sitting at your desk or talking on the phone. Stand up and move your body every 20 minutes or so. Better yet: buy a standing desk.
Identify your peak productivity periods. “All of us have different times when we’re the most energetic or productive,” says Sanders. “Discover your peak hours to schedule time for the most complex or challenging tasks, allowing you to complete them efficiently.”
Manage your time wisely. Procrastination and falling behind in work responsibilities will only increase stress and decrease your effectiveness.
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