As a lawyer, in general, you may tend to work very long hours. But with 75% of law professionals citing a good work-life balance as being their top influencer of job satisfaction, how can you achieve stability between your work and personal life – particularly in an environment full of client deadlines and targets for billable hours.
Emma Linden, Law graduate and Managing Consultant of the Legal team at Robert Walters, sets out some of her top tips to help you achieve a better work-life balance for both now, and in the long-term.
What you can do right now:
1. Take some time off
This might seem obvious but, take a holiday. Working long hours can often lead to burn out, and so some rest and relaxation could be the very thing you need to help bring your life into balance. A little escape can leave you feeling fully refreshed and ready to return with a new-found passion and determination for your day-to-day work.
2. Change your routine
Think about your personal daily habits and try to adapt them to better suit your day. Are your emails the first thing you check when you wake up in morning? Perhaps you spend your whole travel journey completing work-related tasks? Don’t be afraid to unplug – instead, wait until you get into the office before looking at emails and spend your time in other ways. You could consider early morning meditation or reading a book whilst you commute. If you always go to the gym in the morning, why don’t you try going during your lunch break instead?
3. Speak to someone
Don’t be afraid to speak to someone internally (whether it's your boss, a mentor or internal HR) and tell them you’re struggling. If feasible, they can help ease your workload and create a more balanced daily routine. You might be quite surprised at how accommodating employers can be when they know you are finding things tough and the measures they will take to try and make things better.
1. Work flexibly
Working flexibly means changing your hours or location depending on your circumstances. Try working from home once or twice a week – not only leading to saved travel time, but also to potential increased productivity from being removed from office distractions. Or, if you have children, perhaps you’d prefer to be home in the evenings and so could think about starting your work day earlier instead.
2. Go part-time or job-share
Consider reducing the number of days you work each week, or even sharing your role with another lawyer. Working two to three days either part-time or sharing roles would mean you can still do the job you love but with more spare time to do things outside of work. Job sharing is a great option as it means that you and your counterpart would both work on cases (either the same or separate) and still make up full time-hours for your employer.
3. Move in-house
Generally, in-house roles mean not having the added pressure of monitoring and recording billable hours; inevitably allowing you more flexibility. However, working in-house doesn’t mean you’ll be working any less hard – it just means you can enjoy consistency in hours and may also enjoy longer, less interrupted holidays. To find out the pros and cons of moving in-house, read more here.
4. Work for a company that promotes agile working
On the whole, smaller law firms tend to have lower billable hour targets than large multinational private practice firms, meaning you won’t need to put in as many hours in overall. Normally these firms, along with companies who promote agile working, have a larger focus on balanced working conditions leading to a greater work-life balance overall.
Visit the career advice section of our website for more tips to help you in your career.
To find out how much you could earn in an in-house legal job, request your copy of our 2020 salary survey today.
Start searching for your next legal role, or contact Emma Linden on 02 8289 3168 for a confidential discussion.