AS THE demand for bright young lawyers continues to increase, law firms will more and more need to provide an environment that allows flexible work practices, according to the Law Society of New South Wales.
The Law Society last week released its Workplace Flexibility Report, detailing the potential for such an environment in firms, and examining in particular juggling childcare arrangements and family commitments with the demands of high pressure work in a law firm.
The first of its kind in Australia, the report aims to help solicitors integrate work and life commitments, said Law Society president John McIntyre.
“There are several benefits for both individuals and law firms from flexible workplace practices,” McIntyre said. “One of the key benefits for firms is improved retention of staff in this highly competitive legal market.”
“Bright and talented young lawyers” are in greater demand in firms, he said, which will be under more pressure to provide a culture and work life that will attract and retain that talent ahead of competitors.
He added that findings from the report suggest that firms that are proactive in implementing flexible work practices reap benefits by attracting and retaining talent, as well as enhancing productivity and morale, and reducing stress and burn out.
“The Law Society consulted a number of best practice firms across NSW to explore how flexibility models being used and potential barriers that were raised during the implementation process.
“It was revealed that operational and attitudinal barriers still exist despite the positive changes which have been adopted by firms and organisations to accommodate this popular new trend,” McIntyre said.
Firms will be inspired when they understand the key advantages linked to flexible work practices, and will subsequently introduce a more adaptable working environment for their practitioners.
“We welcome the report and its drive to deliver better work practices for the legal profession,” said McIntyre. “We hope that practitioners will also support this study which presents a compelling case for flexibility in the workplace.”