find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
My next move: How do I achieve work-life balance?

My next move: How do I achieve work-life balance?

Many lawyers work consistently long and unpredictable hours. The pressure to be client focused, to meet tight timeframes, and technology such as email, Skype and smartphones have blurred the lines between one’s work and personal life.

 

Lawyers not willing to “be there until the job is done” are often considered as not committed. Promotional prospects can be affected.  

We all need time out: to relax, to be involved in the lives of our family and friends, to have hobbies and interests. This is why a flexible work environment is highly sought after by many lawyers.

Employers recognise that, in order to attract and retain the best legal talent and to create a happier and healthier environment, they need to be able to provide flexibility. Long, unsustainable hours affect health, absenteeism and productivity.

The best employers work to address the problem by supporting lawyers to achieve a balance.  They create a culture that supports staff needs and trusts employees when they do work flexibly.  Paid parental leave, part-time and casual work, telecommuting, leave without pay, opportunities to purchase additional leave, compulsory leave, strict maximum hours and half days on Friday during summer are all ways of offering flexibility.

Many employers regularly seek feedback from staff to determine if they are achieving balance.  They conduct surveys to determine whether lawyers enjoy their work and feel a sense of achievement; to find out what their typical working hours and commuting times are, and to discover how they spend their time outside the office, to better understand their lawyers’ stresses.

Lawyers, however, also have a responsibility to achieve the right balance between work and home.  They need to manage their time, speak up and take action. The onus is on your employer to create a culture and environment that supports and encourages work/life balance if they wish to retain you, but it is your responsibility to manage your career and life. 

Try talking to your firm about how the hours are affecting you.  If nothing changes and it gets untenable, draw the line and say enough is enough.


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

My next move: How do I achieve work-life balance?
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...