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Why all lawyers need a 4-day working week

A four-day work week isn’t a lazy lawyer’s manifesto; it’s a strategic move towards sustainability, writes Stefanie Costi.

user iconStefanie Costi 31 January 2024 Careers
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In the fast-paced legal profession, the billable hour reigns supreme, and lawyers often brag about working long hours.

But what if the key to better legal practice and a happier, more productive legal community lies in a simple change: a four-day work week?

Let’s face it: the legal profession is notorious for its burnout culture. Lawyers work themselves to the bone, sacrificing sleep, sanity, and even weekends in the pursuit of success. But at what cost? The relentless grind can lead to stressed-out lawyers, decreased job satisfaction, and, in some cases, compromised mental health and personal lives.


I recently experienced a revelation – the power of rest, the magic of a long weekend. Let me tell you why every lawyer should jump on the four-day working week bandwagon.

Australia Day, a day off for many, became my eureka moment. As I basked in the bliss of an extended weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder why we subject ourselves to the never-ending grind. The truth hit me harder than the midday sun – more rest equals more productivity.

Now, I’m not advocating for laziness or taking shortcuts. Quite the opposite, in fact. Picture this: a lawyer, well rested, firing on all cylinders, tackling cases with a fresh perspective and boundless energy. A legal force to be reckoned with.

Let’s break it down in simple terms. We’ve all experienced the joy of a public holiday. Imagine having that extra day, every week. It’s not just about Netflix binges or beach trips. It’s about reclaiming time for mental rejuvenation, family, and personal pursuits. Happy, balanced lawyers are effective lawyers.

When I mentioned my newfound revelation, a colleague joked and suggested having a kid was the solution to my problem. Excuse me? Are we now suggesting that the only way to escape the clutches of a relentless work schedule is by bringing a tiny human into the mix?

Now, for those sceptics saying, “But what about billable hours and client demands?” Here’s the point – a focused, well-rested lawyer can accomplish in four days what might take a sleep-deprived one five. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

It’s time to challenge the status quo. The legal profession prides itself on intellect, innovation, and adaptability. So why are we clinging to a work structure that dates back to the era of quills and parchment?

A four-day work week isn’t a lazy lawyer’s manifesto; it’s a strategic move towards sustainability. The legal battlefield is intense, and we need warriors at their peak. Fatigue dulls our swords. Rest sharpens them.

So, fellow lawyers, let’s challenge the naysayers, question the outdated norms, and embark on a journey towards a legal landscape where the pursuit of justice isn’t at the expense of our own wellbeing.

In the words of the great legal philosopher Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

It’s time for lawyers to stop, look around, and embrace a four-day work week – the key to a healthier, happier, and more productive legal profession.

Stefanie Costi is a lawyer who empowers victims of workplace bullying to take decisive action and educates organisations about its impact and preventive measures. Through her advocacy, Stefanie strives to create healthier and more respectful work environments where everyone can thrive without fear. You can find her here.

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