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 (1-3 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Join a dynamic Firm · Excellent career growth opportunity
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
Lawyers need more time to do their job

Lawyers need more time to do their job

racel setti cognitive processing

An organisational psychologist has warned that lawyers are churning out work at an unhealthy rate that is impacting their job performance and their mental health.

Tighter deadlines and billable hour expectations have reduced the amount of time that lawyers spend on cognitive processing, which is essential to performing a legal role effectively, according to Rachel Setti (pictured), a registered psychologist and consultant.

She told Lawyers Weekly that lawyers use cognitive processing to arrive at creative, errorless solutions to complex problems, but this process has taken a back seat to satisfying more demanding clients and fulfilling daily billing targets.

“People need to set time aside to examine the facts, to re-frame, to consult with colleagues, to refer back to precedent cases,” Ms Setti said, “but when deadlines are very tight, that can fall by the wayside, there’s just no time for it.”

Contributing to these immediate pressures is technology, which is forcing many lawyers to work beyond the limits of a reasonable working day because it allows 24-hour access to a matter.

“There is no ‘switch off’ button anymore,” Ms Setti said, emphasising that this trend is concerning from a psychological perspective.

“It has an impact on the time required to rejuvenate one’s mind; taking part in recreational activity actually bolsters your capacity to work better the next day.”

Long working days can also mask under-performance, she said.

“An individual’s billing hours may look impressive on paper ... but [they may be] compensating for poor productivity by [the lawyer] accessing technology at home to work well beyond normal working hours.”

Ms Setti has challenged firms to ensure that their lawyers are trained to take full advantage of the technology available to them, up-skill managers to identify the signs of stress and fatigue in their colleagues, and alter their lawyers’ job design to ensure enough time for the cognitive processing needed to perform their job well without the pressure of chasing one deadline after another.

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

Lawyers need more time to do their job
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
07:03
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
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 & ...