Even while lawyers’ pay increased in the 2020s, turnover was at an all-time high. Due to increased competition for legal expertise, over a quarter of legal associates left their firms.
However, the higher remuneration did not prevent attorneys from leaving the firms. Companies with the fastest-growing salaries did not have the fewest employees leave for other jobs. Conversely, attorney turnover was lower for companies with slower wage increases.
To my mind, this discovery goes against common sense. Nonetheless, compensation is not the only factor that keeps lawyers committed to their businesses and motivated to do their best work. What, then, does make lawyers satisfied about their careers, if not their pay?
What is the state of the workforce?
High stress and low output are linked to higher salaries. To my surprise, law firms with modest compensation increases and low turnover rates also had higher workloads. They averaged 51 more billable hours per year than low-turnover law firms. Worker productivity declines when the turnover rate is high because of the additional time spent training new hires. Companies with minimal employee turnover, on the other hand, gain from its decreased occurrence. Many companies haven’t decided whether or not to bring their employees back to the workplace just yet. Therefore, a strategy that includes both working from home and in an office setting is preferred.
What do they value?
Attorney benefits, which are not monetary remuneration, are useful for recruitment because they demonstrate that the firm cares for its employees beyond the salary they get. When lawyers are happy with the work environment, they tend to stay put. Most attorneys feel that the stress and low pay they currently get do not justify staying in their current positions. Benefiting from a positive attitude toward one’s workplace is an additional benefit of non-monetary rewards. And when employees are content in their jobs, word gets out, which makes it simpler to bring on new team members.
It’s been estimated that between 25% and 37% of lawyers struggle with alcoholism in 2018. Even more sobering is the fact that 27% of attorneys have clinical depression and 19% report having daily anxiety. In 2024, it was found that 36% of seasoned attorneys struggle with some form of mental illness, while 70% of judges and sole practitioners reported not seeking help for similar issues. Younger employees care more about striking a good work-life balance and protecting their mental health than their older counterparts. Employees can take time off for personal reasons or to tend to family obligations when their schedules are flexible. You might suggest that lawyers devote time during the workday to their own mental health by scheduling in appointments for self-care. Show your dedication to the attorneys’ health by making self-care a top priority at the firm.
A happy lawyer is compensated in ways other than money, chosen with a focus on the whole person and a healthy work-life balance in mind. Firms that are able to keep their employee turnover rates low typically provide a variety of benefits aimed at keeping its lawyer’s content. Mentoring programs, for instance, can be especially helpful for younger employees just starting out in the company. Pro bono work is also a great method for young lawyers to get experience while helping others. Plus, schedule freedom allows you to prioritize personal and family obligations. When lawyers know their law firm is dedicated to helping them strike a good work/life balance, it’s much simpler to recruit top talent and retention rates are much higher.
Especially with younger lawyers from the generation of millennials and gen z, work culture is very important to their generation. The older professionals like the Baby Boomers and gen x may feel a disconnect from the younger generations. But it is important for Baby Boomers and gen x to be open to the new culture to avoid generational conflict in the workplace. To read more about generational conflict, check out Gentingcasino.com.
If your firm has invested in the correct legal research technologies, you can do more of your work from home. Case research can be completed much more quickly with the help of certain tools. When you work smarter, you free up more time for the living part of the work-life balance equation. Billable hours are not negatively impacted by employees taking time off for mental health days, working out, or practicing stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, or Pilates.
Work-Life Balance for Hybrid and Home-based setups
The legal field is rapidly becoming a hybrid workforce, which presents new issues and opportunities. Many attorneys and support employees have spent considerable time away from the office and may long for the camaraderie that can be found in a small team. However, commuting between home and the office presents its own set of difficulties.
These shifts can cause stress and lead to the development of unhealthy routines. Fortunately, you can fight off stress and reclaim your well-deserved work-life balance by taking steps both at home and in the office. You can improve your adaptability to these shifts by acknowledging the stress you feel while returning to the office and then learning ways to help you feel more at home there.
Transitioning Back to the office
Many people find it difficult to return to an office setting after working from home for an extended period of time. If you’re feeling nervous about going back to work, know that you’re not alone and take steps to alleviate your concerns.
Stress can be reduced, according to several psychologists, by shifting one’s perspective. Focus on the positive aspects of office life rather than obsessing on the negative.
You may gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s goals by spending time in the workplace. Being in social settings might boost your motivation to strive toward this goal by reinforcing actions that are congruent with the purpose.
Synergizing is a key for relieving stress. Many ideas are discussed and debated during a brief, informal discussions over the water cooler. The relaxed atmosphere of these talks could be precisely what you need to get some answers to burning questions or inspiration for new approaches to a problem.
Working in an office setting, as opposed to at home, may afford less interruptions. Separating your job and personal priorities can help you give each their due attention.
Once you’ve coped with the stressor of going back to the office, consider what you can do to reduce stress related to transitioning between different work environments.