Nearly two-thirds of lawyers have experienced burnout in the last 12 months
There is still work to be done by law firms when it comes to employee wellbeing, as 62% of legal professionals have experienced burnout as a result of their work, with a further 21% saying they often feel stressed, according to our 2023 Wellbeing in the Law report.
As part of our annual market research conducted in June 2022, we surveyed 202 lawyers on topics relating to workplace wellbeing, ranging from burnout to wellbeing benefits. Our research found that more than 8 out of 10 lawyers often feel stressed or have experienced burnout as a result of their job.
Having an unmanageable caseload emerged as the most common stressor for lawyers, with 57% citing their workload as a primary stressor. Importantly for legal employers, 91% of lawyers said that a more manageable caseload would be a top priority for them if they were to enter the jobs market, compared to 62% in 2021.
42% said that a lack of work-life balance was a primary stressor, with 80% saying flexibility would be important to them in their next role. Other common stressors for lawyers were bad management (39%) and poor or unfair pay (31.8%), which will no doubt be exacerbated by the current cost of living crisis.
There are, however, positive signs that law firms are taking the wellbeing of their people more seriously than ever before, with 58% of firms now offering mental health first aiders, up from 45% in 2021, and 54% offering free or subsidised access to a counsellor, up from 47.5% in 2021.
We have recently published the results of its research in full along with recommendations for law firms in a new report.
Other key findings include:
- Mental health first aiders (58%), free or subsidised access to a counsellor (54%) and private healthcare (52%) were the most common wellbeing-related benefits provided by employers
- 68% said they felt their employer should offer paid wellbeing days and 53% would like their employer to offer free or subsidised gym memberships
- 55% of lawyers said that their employer contributes fairly well or well to their health and wellbeing, compared to 40% in 2021
- However, 31% said they didn’t feel that their wellbeing was supported by their firm
Realm Recruit’s managing director, Duane Cormell, comments:
“While wellbeing is certainly higher up on the agenda than ever before within the law, sadly, the results of our research indicate that there is still work to do in this area.
“There’s undoubtedly a correlation between good mental health and employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity, so it makes good business sense for law firms to look after the mental health of their staff.
“Many firms have taken steps to improve staff wellbeing by investing in measures such as subsidised access to a counsellor or gym memberships. However, addressing the most common root causes of workplace stress (unrealistic caseloads, flexible working policies and poor pay) is likely to have more impact, especially in the current cost of living crisis.
“Firms that look to do this will not only have happier, and therefore, more productive, employees, but will be better placed to attract and retain the very best talent.”