The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
During my former life as a trainee I just accepted that in return for my generous City salary I would have to work long and unsociable hours.
During the 1990s work-life balance was simple work hard, play hard and worry about sleep later. Whats more it wasnt uncommon, at my firm at least, for those trainees who were unfortunate enough to pull an all-nighter to brag about it to their peers the following morning. And whenever I bumped into a fellow trainee in the corridor rather than exchanging stories about our weekend antics we talked about how many hours wed been working that week.
These days, however, work-life balance is all about working shorter and more predictable hours. So for current trainees, being asked to work through the night is no longer considered a badge of honour.
Indeed, in the latest Trendence Graduate Recruitment Review Law Edition 45 per cent of students interested in a career in law cited bad work-life balance as a reason for not wanting to work in a law firm (see story).
Whilst I agree work-life balance is very important and welcome the steps some law firms are taking to ensure trainee solicitors do have a life outside of the office I think aspiring lawyers need to accept that working in the City will require them to work long hours. This is especially the case for those of you who dream to work on multi-billion pound cross-border deals, which typically feature clients in multiple jurisdictions and time zones. There are certain times during the life-cycle of a deal when all hell will break loose regardless of its value.
So if the thought of working long and unsociable hours makes you weep then I suggest you think twice as to whether a career in the City is for you. In the legal sector the client is king so its inevitable that youll be asked to put their interests first. So if youd rather be down at the pub then focus your job hunt elsewhere. It worked for me.