THE LAST thing the profession needs in this global talent shortage is for those lawyers actually working in the law to be thinking twice about their careers. But this is exactly what is happening in the UK, new research has shown.
A quarter of all lawyers in the UK want to get out of the law, a report commissioned by The Lawyer magazine and carried out by YouGov has found.
A shocking 24 per cent of lawyers would like a change in career, and this figure rises to about a third for associates with between six and ten years’ PQE.
The results of the survey of more than 2,500 lawyers underlines the recruitment and retention crisis facing London firms that are already struggling with the current workload.
The main obstacle to changing careers was the possible drop in salary that would likely occur, with 70 per cent of respondents citing this as their top reason to stay in the law.
A fear of being too old to change careers also features high as a deterrent to a career change, representing a barrier to change for 27 per cent. This just slightly beat the cost of retraining for another role, which 26 per cent of respondents identified as an obstacle.
The most desired job is a non-legal role in a company, which garnered 24 per cent of the votes of lawyers wanting a way out of the law.
Just 9 per cent said they would like to work in an investment bank or similar, and the same proportion wanted to teach. Only 47 per cent of degree-holding respondents said they had always wanted to be a lawyer.
A Taylor Root consultant in the UK, Sarah Ingwersen, said: “Part of the dissatisfaction comes from lawyers thinking that they’re restricted to the law for ever. It is really quite pertinent to emphasise that lawyers have a lot of skills,” she told The Lawyer magazine.
In the last survey by the magazine, it was revealed that 63 per cent of lawyers at firms with a turnover of more than £250 million were not aiming for partnership.
It also suggested that a fifth of the 74 managing partner polled wanted to leave the law.
The magazine said while the City had seen a series of hefty pay rises in recent months, and increases in partner profits, the rise in earnings has not contributed to overall happiness.