80% of Young People Think Law Offers Poor Work/Life Balance

16 Sep, 2016

New research has revealed just how few young people believe a career in law will offer them a good work/life balance, sparking fears about recruiting the next generation of lawyers.

Only 18% of those between 18-24 years think the sector would provide a positive work/life balance. Similarly, only 20% of 25-34 year olds believe a legal career would satisfy this requirement, the study by ComRes has found.

This draws a stark contrast with the older generation with more than half of over 65s believing that a career in the industry would offer a good work/life balance, highlighting a significant generational gap when it comes to how careers in law are viewed.

The study was commissioned by coffee company Keurig, who provide coffee machines to legal firms across the UK. Stephen Stagg, UK Managing Director for Keurig, commented:

“As a coffee company supplying the legal sector, we know first-hand that lawyers have demanding schedules and can work long hours. Because of that, we’ve seen real efforts from firms to make the workplace a nicer environment for those in the profession. Whether it’s luxury coffee machines, mindfulness zones, or on-site hairdressers, firms are definitely doing more to ensure a happy working environment for their employees.”

Clayton Miller, of London based KMJ Solicitors, believes pop-culture has glamorized law careers for the younger generation, meaning they’re not prepared for the hard work that comes with it:

“Some young people are disillusioned by the reality of working in a law firm – long hours, relatively low pay at the beginning compared to their banker buddies, and being made to do the most mundane tasks, all of which are a million miles away from what is portrayed in US law firm soaps. Being a successful lawyer, like being a success in any job, is hard work. But without a personal life balance, the whole thing will eventually come crashing down. A “work only” imbalance is not sustainable long term, no matter which generation.”

In recent research by legal recruitment specialists Douglas Scott, they found only 1% of lawyers aged 30 and below were able to work from home, with just 11% able to work flexible hours.

Jonathan Nolan, Director at Douglas Scott, added:

“A career in the law often can’t offer the flexible working benefits we’re starting to see in many other workplace cultures. This is particularly true for those in the early years of their law career, with over 55s tending to have more freedom over their working hours than their younger colleagues.”

ComRes interviewed 2,035 British adults online between 31st August and 1st September 2016. They were asked to respond to the questions of “Generally, how trustworthy or untrustworthy do you think each of the following sources of information are?” in relation to a range of information outlets. Data were weighted by age, gender and region to be representative of all British adults. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com

(Source: ComRes Global)

Also, keep an eye out over the next month, as Lawyer Monthly will be running a competition to win a Keurig coffee machine and pods for your business!

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