New research reveals that Australian-based corporate counsel have endured heavier workloads in the age of coronavirus than counterparts across the globe.
Global legal recruitment firm Taylor Root has just released its “2020 Global In-House Market Report & COVID-19 Impact Survey”, which outlines the effects of and opportunities emerging from the past year for legal counsel around the world.
Globally, the firm reported, two in five (40 per cent) of legal teams have seen an increase in their workloads, with most of those witnessing such an uptick in work uncertain about how long they will have to endure it.
Australians, however, appear to have seen the biggest increase in their workloads, with 53 per cent of corporate counsel based here reporting having more work than in pre-pandemic times. Elsewhere, 45 per cent of lawyers in the UK reported such an uptick, followed by those in North America (43 per cent), the Middle East (39 per cent), Europe (35 per cent) and Asia (26 per cent).
Increases to the workload of the legal team are far and away seen as the biggest challenge facing such teams across the globe at present, Taylor Root continued, noting that 45 per cent see “workload versus capacity” as an urgent concern to be addressed. The next most pressing challenges for respondents, the firm outlined, were “general uncertainty about the market” (25 per cent), “maintaining staff morale” (12 per cent) and “employment issues (e.g. redundancy, furlough)” (10 per cent).
Further findings add varying twists to the fact that more than half of in-house lawyers in Australia have greater volumes of work on their plate right now: 47 per cent said they are more effective working from home, but conversely, 39 per cent say they miss having interaction with the business directly, making it harder to perform their jobs. Moreover, 34 per cent of Australian legal counsel said they are finding it difficult to balance their personal and professional lives.
“Whilst it is difficult to predict what the future may hold for in-house legal teams after the worst of COVID-19 passes, what is clear is that the pandemic has revealed the inextricable importance of the corporate counsel function for businesses and organisations across Australia,” Taylor Root concluded.