Are Lawyers Satisfied with Their Work/Life Balance?

Are Lawyers Satisfied with Their Work/Life Balance?

Poll of UK lawyers shows almost half (45%) of lawyers surveyed are doing more admin than expected.

Intapp, a leading provider of business applications for professional service firms, today announced results from its latest research, which analysed how lawyers across the UK and US view their careers and place of work. The research showed that three out of five (60%) of these UK lawyers currently see themselves as having good work-life balance, something that 39% consider among the most important factors when analysing their day-to-day working environment given their selection of “work hours” as a top factor of importance in their working environment).

The survey, conducted in partnership with YouGov, polled 258 lawyers at firms with 50+ employees: 133 in the US and 125 in the UK, revealed that although 18% of UK respondents went as far as describing their work-life balance as ‘very good’, the amount of admin that many lawyers are still having to do is arguably a contributing factor to the 22% who categorise their work life balance as somewhat bad or very bad. When questioned, almost half of these UK lawyers (45%) are doing more administrative tasks than they expected and nearly a fifth (18%) said that either the majority or nearly all of their time is spent on low-value work.

The research, which looked at elements related to being a lawyer, including the “cultural” and “human” factors that are highlighted in this release. Technology-focused attitudes from this survey are highlighted in this recent release.

Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents in the UK stated that they became lawyers in order to work in an intellectually stimulating environment, and over a third (35%) said they became lawyers to do rewarding work, highlighting the risk of the administrative burden in hindering the ambition of lawyers, in addition to productivity and the growth of firms. In terms of what are the most important factors to enjoying their working environments, both Big Law and Non-Big Law respondents agreed it was the people they work for and with (53% and 23 out of 44, respectively). When asked to what degree the decision to become a lawyer had met expectations, 23% had been disappointed.

The research also illustrated how lawyers expect their firms to modernise as a route to improving the success of the firm, as well as their work/life balance.

In order to remain competitive, 30% of these UK lawyers felt that law firms should modernise the workflow process, and 29% felt that law firms should provide services that can do elements of the legal work more efficiently. Many wanted to see their firms invest in technologies in the next year to help with specific day-to-day process.

For example:

  • 44% want to see their firm invest in content or document management systems
  • 34% want to see their firm invest in technologies that do part of the legal service (e.g. initial drafts of documents)
  • 28% want to see their firm invest in mobile-enabled technologies
  • 41% felt that artificial intelligence could help improve the way conflicts clearance

Chris Turk, Regional Vice President, EMEA said: “While the growth and success of a firm is important, the people that make up the firm are the biggest indicator of lasting success, and these survey results have shown the impact that tools and processes available can have on the daily life of a lawyer. Modern firms – those that take into account the environment of a firm, and the impact of technology on its employees – are the ones that will see the most positive change, and many of our customers are a testament to this.”

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