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Lawyers in Midsize Firms Hit Hard by Burnout

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That is one finding from the inaugural Midsize Firm Priorities Report.

First the bad news: nearly three-quarters of employees in midsize law firms say they’ve experienced stress or burnout in the past 12 months.

Now the good news: even so, a whopping 99 percent say they like “at least some aspects of their work.”

Also: 92 percent of midsize firms say staffing and resource shortages are creating problems in their offices.

Those findings come from the inaugural Midsize Law Firm Priorities Report 2023, conducted by the legal tech company ActionStep.

“[The] survey of lawyers, paralegals and administrative support professionals at midsized law firms finds that nearly three-quarters report feeling stress, burnout, or being overwhelmed in the past year,” writes LawSites founder Bob Ambrogi about the report. “Of the lawyers and paralegals who responded to the survey, the greatest sources of their stress are understaffing and client demands. For administrative support staff, the greatest sources of stress are team or cultural issues and lack of support from management. But even though many  of these legal professionals are feeling stressed, they overwhelmingly agree that technology can help their firms adapt and is critical to the satisfaction of their firms’ clients. And, despite the stress, almost all professionals at midsized firms (99.6 percent) say they like at least some aspects of their work.”

Read the Midsize Law Firm Priorities Report 2023 here.

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Takeaways from the Midsize Law Firm Priorities Report 2023

  • The number one item on midsize firms’ to-do lists is growing revenue (47 percent), followed by managing the cost of doing business (35 percent) and recruiting and retaining talent (35 percent).
  • Twenty-eight (28) percent of law firms said improving technology was their top priority.
  • Fifty-five (55) percent said what they like best about their job is helping people solve problems, while 43 percent appreciated the opportunity to learn and evolve.
  • Other things people at midsize firms like: being part of a team (43 percent); structure and logic of legal work (38 percent); working with a range of different types of clients (37 percent); work-life balance (35 percent); remuneration and other benefits (30 percent); professional opportunities for career progression (28 percent); working with inspiring legal industry leaders (26 percent); being part of a firm that advocates for my personal beliefs (25 percent); being part of a firm that advocates for equal access to justice.
  • What legal professional dislike most about their jobs is too much time spent on routine, administrative tasks.
  • Seventy-two (72) percent had experienced stress in the last year.
  • Legal professionals who work remotely more than a quarter of their time were significantly less likely to report burnout and stress.
  • “When asked about the specific causes of stress and burnout, the most common causes were understaffing and lack of resources and demands from clients,” writes Ambrogi. “The third most-common cause was what is often described as ‘platform fatigue’ – too many applications, tools or programs to manage effectively.”

Sources:

Stress Due To Understaffing Plagues Midsized Firms, Survey Finds, But Professionals See Relief In Tech | LawSites (lawnext.com)

Midsize Law Firm Priorities Report 2023

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