Work/Life Balance seems to become a particularly important issue once solicitors get to about 3 years PQE, and realise that there is life beyond work, and other issues such as rearing a family, paying a mortgage and buying a house come into play.
The legal profession as a whole suffers from a poor attitude towards the work life balance and this results in a lot of despondent lawyers wondering what on earth is going on. I think it may be to do with the traditional approach to law that still survives in a lot of towns.
What should lawyers be doing and how many hours is healthy?
Firms need to be aware that solicitors are human beings, not robots. If you have a solicitor doing 60 hours per week at your offices, chances are he or she is doing it a) because you are not paying them enough to cover their mortgage etc.. b) they have serious family or home issues c) they really enjoy their work and cannot bear to go home or d) they do not have a very good balance in their lives of work and play etc.. and are bordering on becoming a workaholic.
Have a look round and see what your lawyers are doing. If they are working the long hours because of a), it is likely that they will also be looking for a new post. If b) you need to keep a close eye on them, as this can affect their work, if c) not much you can do and good news for the firm if not the lawyer! and d) the solicitor needs to adjust this balance to make sure that their life does not suddenly disappear in front of them at the office.
Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment (www.ten-percent.co.uk) – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us! Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org