Law Firms Need to Offer More Flexible Solutions; LEGAL

The Birmingham Post (England), March 14, 2008 | Go to article overview

Law Firms Need to Offer More Flexible Solutions; LEGAL


Byline: By John Duckers Business Editor

Many lawyers are totally cynical about attaining any sort of acceptable work-life balance.

A new piece of research by Eversheds has highlighted a major difference in opinion among leading law firms on whether such a thing is achievable.

While 46 per cent of partners believe it is a key objective, 48 per cent say it is a 'contradiction in terms' - 24/7 client demands mean it is inherently impossible.

The study is part of Eversheds' Law Firm of the 21st Century report, which was carried out by legal researcher, RSG Consulting.

Sue Lewis, senior office partner at Eversheds in Birmingham, said: "There is a clear difference of opinion amongst law firms and also from the client side on how to achieve a credible work-life balance, and whether it is a realistic goal in the legal profession, which can often involve unpredictability in the type of work we do.

"However, those firms who believe it is completely unachievable need to think about this seriously if they are to recruit and retain the best people. Thirty-six per cent of partners were concerned about retention given that the so-called 'Generation Y' have clear aspirations about work-life balance."

She continued: "However, in contrast to reports of unhappiness among assistant solicitors, the majority of partners interviewed (77 per cent) believe that law firms are good places to work, with one third believing they had become better over the past 10 years."

Fifty-six per cent of partners and 45 per cent of clients thought that flexible working did not offer a credible solution to work-life balance.

However, many said it should be a key business objective.

Ms Lewis said: "The increased use of mobile technology does mean that flexible working is achievable, and also provides clients with the peace of mind that should they need to get hold of their legal adviser, they can do. …

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