Present tense: stress in the workplace

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  • More interesting would be to understand what these lawyers can do about the stress levels they are being asked to endure. I think the firms believe they are beyond reproach, and therefore work their staff to breaking point and then discard them if they crack. I'm currently in my second year of sick leave after 12 years of punishing hours at a magic circle law firm, and I don't see how I will ever return to work. I'm left with no career, no earning potential, a severely hampered day to day life, and no recourse. Where's the justice?

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  • Great survey. It raises an interesting question from the clients' perspective; who would knowingly buy legal services from the 11% of lawyers working 66 or more hours a week (13+ a day)? The effectiveness of those last 20 hours is highly questionable.

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  • Surely the answer to the high levels of stress is blindingly obvious? Everyone from the top level down takes a pay-cut and the spare cash is used to employ more lawyers to cope with the workload. Oooh - what a radical idea!

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  • Clifford Chance really needs to take a serious look at how they treat their employees. It is not a pleasant work culture.

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  • Quite right Berenice although in reality there would be very little if any need to reduce pay or profit share. Billing structures are now more value and efficiency based than built around hourly rates. Having bright, healthy, focussed and energetic teams working on well-staffed deals is good for business, reduces errors and increases profit.

    There is a belief among equity partners that absurd hours are the crucible that associates need to go through to show their worth - drivel of course; discredited in every other profession but law is always the last to change.

    There is also an assumption amongst associates that business development is the partner's problem - also drivel and career limiting for those who hold this view.

    The practice of law need not be stressful or unpleasant - old ideas and bad management can make it so.

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