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
Lawyers’ biggest grievances revealed

Lawyers’ biggest grievances revealed

stress

Unreasonable clients, resistance to change and inadequate technology have been identified as the three major challenges facing lawyers.

The Lawyers Weekly Legal Market Update survey, conducted in conjunction with the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association, asked readers to cite the most frustrating aspects of their practice.

A significant portion of respondents identified changing client expectations as a major challenge.

One respondent suggested their clients often had “excessive, unrealistic demands” while another suggested “clients increasingly expect something for nothing”.

Easy access to information via the internet has also shaped how clients view their lawyer, with one respondent lamenting the difficulty in “managing client expectations in an age when everyone thinks they are an expert in law”.

Similarly, another respondent pointed to the increasing phenomenon of clients wishing to “dictate fees without an understanding of the work/level of person required to reach a satisfactory result”.

These client expectations may lead to clients de-valuing the work lawyers do, one respondent warned.

“Increasingly clients are coming to me, getting advice, and then getting cheap documents from non-lawyers. I know the documents they are getting are rubbish, but the clients can't tell the difference,” the submission said.

Another trend emerged around staffing, specifically implementing cultural change within firms.

One respondent suggested it was difficult to “change the focus of our lawyers from being really good at the law, to being really good at helping our clients deal with the law as it impacts their business”.

“It seems a subtle difference, but few lawyers actually do it,” the respondent added.

Another submission took a harsher line, expressing concern at “the inability or unwillingness of staff to grasp the need to step up and embrace change, or they will not have a job in the legal industry”.

For one lawyer, industry veterans were particularly averse to change, with this response citing “the resistance of older directors/solicitors to embrace change and make brave and difficult decisions” as a major frustration.

Greater cooperation between lawyers was a common aspiration, with one respondent irritated that colleagues were “not always working as one firm” and another annoyed at “dealing with people who are unwilling to share their knowledge for the good of the firm as a whole”.

Staff at all levels of the firm came in for criticism, with one respondent arguing that “partners need to learn to practice law and leave admin and management to the admin and management team”, while another pointed fingers at the admin team, suggesting “they can’t be improved unless I change the model”.

Indeed, several respondents suggested the partnership model as a whole was the issue, with one person suggesting there was a “seeming inability to effect change within that model”.

A final source of tension proved to be innovation, though lawyers were divided whether more or fewer tech solutions in firms was the answer.

One submission expressed annoyance that firms “are wedded to 19th Century way of doing things, when we have technology to do things differently”.

Others suggested firms were too slow to embrace tech solutions that would improve efficiency, eliminate paper and streamline resources.

However, not everyone was convinced – a number of submissions cited technological glitches, failures and insufficient tech support as major bugbears of their day-to-day practice.

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’ biggest grievances revealed
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 & ...