London, UK – Thursday, 19 May 2022 – Legatics, developers of the leading legal transaction management platform, today announced the findings of a new survey conducted in collaboration with YouGov that reveals the impact stress, burnout and over work are having on the legal profession, and lawyers’ day-to-day lives in law firms and legal departments.
The survey of over 100 practicing UK lawyers found:
- Over nine in ten lawyers experience stress or burnout at some point
- With more than a quarter experiencing it on a daily basis
- Almost two thirds of lawyers feel that their job has had a negative impact on both their mental and physical health – the biggest impact is on their mental health
- Less than 25% of lawyers feel supported by their firm when they are stressed or burned out
- With more than half suggesting their firms need to offer more support
- The issues contributing to feelings of dissatisfaction range from high workload and work not being recognised, to a lack of support
- Most lawyers spend 1-10 hours overtime per week
- A poor work/life balance is the biggest factor behind lawyers leaving the profession
- With almost half reporting this as being the main reason they are considering their future
- Automating administrative work is considered by lawyers to be the most impactful way that technology could help
Legatics senior leadership team contains several former lawyers, many of whom have insight into the challenges that are facing the legal profession and are highlighted in the survey. Anthony Seale, CEO of Legatics, explains: “This survey confirms the scale of the talent retention problem in the legal profession, and highlights many of the problems my team and I saw as lawyers, such as overtime, lack of support, and mental health challenges, which all tend to culminate in burnout or even someone leaving the profession.
“Tackling these challenges is more important than ever,” Seale notes: “The pandemic has turned many people’s priorities around completely and changed our approach to work irreversibly. People are questioning what’s most important to them, and what they will and won’t put up with, and employers across all sectors are making changes to adapt in response.
“We believe that law firms want happy, healthy, and satisfied lawyers working for them and are keen to support them, enabling them to have a fulfilling career. As a company founded by and for lawyers, our team’s experience means we understand many of the problems lawyers face and how to address them, and that insight has been a core part of the founding mission of Legatics: we are here to help alleviate the burden of low-level work and overwork that plagues many lawyers, particularly junior transactional lawyers.”
Lucy Shurwood, Partner at Pinsent Masons, who are a founding member of the Mindful Business Charter -– a practical framework which aims to combat stress and burnout – comments: “As this report highlights, many lawyers continue to be affected by stress and burnout, but the days of accepting that stress and burnout are part of the job are gone, with firms taking proactive steps to support the wellbeing and mental health of their people. At Pinsent Masons we’ve worked hard to collaborate with clients to embed the principles of the Mindful Business Charter – an initiative we founded alongside Barclays and Addleshaw Goddard to encourage businesses to commit to making changes that support the mental health and wellbeing of employees and eradicate negative working practices.”
The 100+ respondents to the UK survey, which was conducted by YouGov in Spring 2022, were all practising lawyers. Areas of work varied, but most respondents worked in corporate, litigation and real estate law.
Seale concludes: “The message to employers is clear – it’s time to take notice of employee health, both physical and mental. If you are not supporting the well-being of your employees, you will see a real business impact on talent retention, and the ability of your teams to work effectively. For those that do, the opportunity to be a highly desirable place to work and attract top talent is huge. Firms need to prioritise providing the right tools, systems, and resources to support and improve their teams’ health and happiness and empower them to be the best lawyers they can be.”