Nearly two-thirds of lawyers feel less optimistic about their career prospects after having children, according to our recent Parenting in the Law research.
In September, we surveyed 105 lawyers from its network on topics relating to being a working parent within the law. We found that just 6% of legal professionals feel more hopeful about their future career prospects since starting a family, while 59% feel less optimistic and 35% feel neutral.
However, seven in ten lawyers feel that their firm supports them well, with just 17% feeling poorly supported and a further 13% feeling neither well nor poorly supported.
Burnout and mental load (76%) and the cost of childcare (74%) emerged as the top challenges or concerns for working parents within the law. Amongst lawyers who are hoping to become parents in the future, the cost of childcare (88%), the cost of living (76%) and a lack of flexibility (76%) were the main concerns.
69% of respondents said they have reduced their working hours since becoming parents – an exacerbating factor for law firms in the current legal talent crisis.
We have recently published the results of our research in full along with other helpful resources and content for working parents in a new Parenting in the Law guide, which can be downloaded on our website.
Our Head of Client Experience, Sarah Glynn, comments:
“At Realm, we work with lots of lawyers who are working parents to help them have fulfilling and successful legal careers. We understand the challenges long hours and punishing caseloads can pose for these individuals, and unfortunately, our research has confirmed that many are finding juggling having a family and maintaining a successful legal career difficult.
“While most working parents feel supported by their employer, this is not the case for everyone. There are steps law firms can do to better support these professionals and it makes good business sense to do so.
“We are currently in a legal talent crisis, where the number of lawyers actively looking for a new role has fallen from 40% in 2019 to 10% in 2023. Law firms have an opportunity to reduce their growth challenges by putting in place favourable parental policies and working to cultivate a supportive work environment and culture that embraces parenthood as a normal part of the profession.
“Firms that look to do this will not only have happier employees who feel motivated and supported to reach their full potential, but they will be better able to attract and retain the very best people and meet their commercial aims.”