Employers value results over innovation, and people above hard work, according to the results of the Lawyers Weekly online survey of the legal profession.
A poll asking 137 legal professionals what their organisation values most has revealed they perceive their employers value “results” above all else, making up 43 per cent of votes (or 59 votes). Coming in second, and matching each other with 25 votes each, were “people” and “ability to conform”. Hard work came in close behind, with 22 votes. The least valued attribute, according to your employees, peers and colleagues, was “innovation”, with only 6 votes.
As some law firms happily place “innovation” on their logos, promising a culture that nurtures individuals and promotes new ideas, this is a surprise result. According to the profession, innovation is the least valued of all attributes put forward by Lawyers Weekly. While the intention is there, in reality innovation is evidently harder to bring in than many firms may like to hope.
But that is not to say giant leaps have not been made by the profession. While innovation still lags a little according to the lawyers grinding away on billable hours, the legal profession is one of the leaders in breaking the boundaries and forging new paths. When some wrong is being done, it is lawyers who fight the cause for justice. There have been no innovators like Justice Michael Kirby, who stands out among his peers as someone prepared to go against the norm if necessary. And human rights lawyer Julian Burnside is innovative in his ability to use the law to better the communities we live in.
On a more personal note, after more than four years, this is my last week with Lawyers Weekly. Since I investigated my first news lead with the magazine, and spoke to my first managing partners and off-the-record sources, huge changes have occurred in the profession. The most striking, however, has possibly been law firms, the Bar and the Bench’s ability to change.
As lawyers called for a national profession, the various attorneys-general have worked to achieve it. When clients complained about time-based billing, many firms developed new strategies to get their fees. As ancient partners dusted off their mahogany desks and willingly learned to use wireless laptops, a new generation of efficiency was born. And, amazingly, firms have learned to look internally at how to better attract and retain talent. While there is certainly a way to go for many, firms’ ability to develop new strategies to keep their young lawyers, and bring them back after a stint overseas, is nothing if not innovative.
I’d like to hang around and see what else you’ve got up you’re sleeves, but hopefully Lawyers Weekly will keep me posted. Good night and good luck.