In reality, last week's introduction of the EU Working Time Directive will probably have little impact on improving working conditions for most lawyers. After all, when a client calls, there is little scope for working out personal time sheets. The job has to be done, and that is all there is to it.

However, as law firms are beginning to recognise, lifestyle is a vital factor in recruiting and retaining quality staff. The big City firms are finding that staff turnover is higher than ever, which is obviously a major business concern. The new directive could be used by firms as a chance to rethink working conditions. It will be interesting to see how many do.