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A recent survey concluded that Lawyers are the hardest working professionals among the likes of accountants/IT Specialists with a significant proportion working in excess of 50 hours per week.
That is unlikely to come as a surprise to many lawyers who, despite tales of economic gloom, seem to be working harder than ever. Undoubtedly the expectations placed on Lawyers is far higher and can be to not just fee earn but to business develop, sustain strong client relationships and find time to do charitable and pro bono endeavours. With all of that, it is no surprise that the work/life balance has been eroded.
Lawyers can often be a funny breed and some are dedicated to working all hours sometimes without balanced reward. More often than not this is with a view to the long term ambition of career progression. Sadly, it is not always the case that such effort is fully rewarded.
To each their own and I for one salute those efforts. A strong work ethic goes a long way.
In the current climate there is also a rising trend in those at the mid-level to have become more disillusioned with the route to partnership and find themselves seeking roles that do not demand leaving the office at 10pm and the limited prospect of seeing daylight (even during the summer months).
Do such roles exist?
Absolutely they do. Most firms are recognising that not everyone is seeking out the route to partnership and have created alternative career paths to cater for them (the role of legal director is becoming more prolific). Equally smaller firms that operate on the periphery of the city centre are attracting well trained and capable lawyers that are seeking quality work but a more balanced lifestyle.
There are often compromises to be made and often this is salary sacrifice. Enjoyment in what one does is often the key to a more peaceful mind and at a certain point salary does not play as important a factor. Equally the barriers and entry points for partnership are often not as severe which in turn can bring greater rewards earlier than may be the case elsewhere. That can often be an attraction to a smaller, out of town firm as well as movement into the mid-market firms.
There often comes that point in a lawyers career where they assess the extent of their efforts against the rewards they receive and that is perfectly normal. It is best however to do that before you have a nervous breakdown. Believe it or not, we are here also to provide advice on what options exist out there and to give you a realistic view of what you can expect.
The often fabled work/life balance is subjective but it can exist.
If you wish to discuss any of the above points then please do not hesitate to contact Paul Warburton
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