22 Aug 2012

Overworked lawyers grinding out 'eight-day' weeks

The vast majority of British legal professionals say their individual workload requires more than one person, and that the average working week in the profession is equivalent to eight days, recent research reveals.

Time to go home

More than 100 legal professionals were questioned in the survey of 2,000 British employees by recruiter Randstad.


The survey – conducted by recruitment agency Randstad – shows that lawyers feel more overworked than counterparts in other professions, with 80 per cent of legal professionals claiming to do, on average, the job of 1.6 people -- equivalent to three extra working days -- while workers in all sectors do the job of 1.3 people, or a 6.5-day week.
The figures, reported in London’s Law Gazette newspaper, also suggested that lawyers are being made increasingly anxious by their jobs, with 43 per cent feeling more stressed than six months ago, and one in eight claiming that work worries regularly affect their sleep.

Lack of leisure time

Anxiety over work is also eating away at lawyer leisure time: 39 per cent find it harder to relax at weekends, and only 43 per cent have been able to take more than a week off work for their main holiday. Of that number, one in five continues to take calls and respond to e-mails while away.
Randstad managing director Tara Ricks warned that ‘while keeping legal workforces as lean as possible may help many law firms navigate the choppy waters the UK is currently experiencing, it isn’t a sustainable model’, and will most likely lead to ‘burnout’ in the long-run.