Partners’ weekly working hours have increased by more than 10 per cent in just two years, with the average working week now almost 56 hours.
Research by recruitment consultancy Laurence Simons has shown partners are now working an average of 2,622 hours a year, up from 2,359 or 50 ¼ hours a week in 2013/14.
Laurence Simons said the rise was equivalent to an extra six and a half weeks in the office every year based on a typical working week of 40 hours.
The rise in partners’ hours contrasts with a drop in the number of hours worked by the average junior lawyer. The survey found newly-qualified associates are now working 46 ¾ hours per week, down from 47 ½ hours two years ago.
Laurence Simons’ global managing director Clare Butler attributed the rise in partners’ working hours to increased competition, particularly from accountancy firms.
“On top of this, finance departments are hawkishly looking at the balance sheet as they seek to build leaner and meaner firms leaving little room for high earning partners who aren’t bringing in fees. With their performance under intense scrutiny, it is little wonder partners are firing on all cylinders,” Butler added.
However a slight majority of those responding to the survey said that working long hours was not necessary to reach the top of the profession.
The research also found that accountants work less hard than lawyers, with an average working week of 43 hours compared to 48 across the whole legal profession.
Lawyers’ average working hours
Source: Laurence Simons