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What do lawyers say will improve their work/life balance?

New research reveals what Australian legal professionals think will bolster the balance they have between their personal and professional lives — with some surprising results.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 09 September 2022 Big Law
What do lawyers say will improve their work/life balance?
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Global technology company Dye & Durham and the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association, the peak body representing managers and leaders in legal businesses, have released their 2022 Legal Industry Report, examining current marketplace developments.

The report was compiled based on a survey of 175 professionals (including practice managers, C-Suite executives, business operations professionals and principals) across 160 law firms in Australia and New Zealand in June of this year.

According to the findings, one in three (33 per cent) of respondents said they believe that Australian legal professionals have a healthy work/life balance, up from 22 per cent in 2019. Thirty-five per cent were unsure, and 32 per cent said that such professionals do not have a healthy work/life balance.


However, when asked about their individual circumstances, three in four (75 per cent) said that they themselves currently have a healthy work/life balance. Just 20 per cent said no, while 5 per cent were unsure.

When asked what is the “number one thing” that would improve their work/life balance, almost one in three (32 per cent) pointed to enhanced flexible working conditions, closely followed by new technology to assist in one’s role.

One in five (20 per cent) said that improved organisational culture would serve as a boost to work/life balance, and 10 per cent identified more remuneration as the solution.

The survey also asked respondents if their law firms are investing in workplace mental health practices or education techniques to better support staff — surprisingly, 51 per cent said no.

“With law having a reputation for being a stressful industry in which to work, there is a clear opportunity to increase the support for mental health in a significant number of firms,” the report mused, noting that this particular finding was in line with the 2019 results.

For those who said that their firms are indeed investing in workplace mental health practices or education techniques, 36 per cent said that the firm is implementing employee assistance programs, 8 per cent said they have internal workshops and training, and 18 per cent said they have team building exercises.

Elsewhere, just one in 10 (11 per cent) of firms have mental health days on offer.

Reflecting on the findings, Dye & Durham said that while there has been a “positive shift in sentiment” towards how professionals perfect the legal industry’s quantum of work/life balance, there is “still room for improvement, with suggestions for increasing the quality of [such] balance, including enhanced flexible working conditions and new technology to assist roles”.