A third of lawyer job seekers are looking to leave the profession

A third of lawyer job seekers are looking to change their career and apply for non-legal positions, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by Life Productions, analysed the job searches of 1,486 lawyers earning £50,000 on a number of job sites including Reed and Total Jobs. It found that 31.8 per cent of lawyers looking for jobs were considering roles outside of the legal profession.

Life Productions founder Martin Underwood said: “Working conditions for lawyers at larger firms haven’t changed significantly in eight years. A large proportion of well-paid associates and senior associates continue to resent the lifestyle they are expected to adopt.

“For them, the high salary is simply not enough to justify the grinding hours, the stress and the lack of control over the volume and nature of work.”

The most popular job roles applied for were management consultancy positions, which attracted 6.8 per cent of applicants. Sales jobs and human resources positions were the next popular making up 6.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent of applications respectively.

Other roles applied for include marketing, advertising and PR, education and recruitment sales.

Underwood added that the current generation of professionals demand a work-life balance and jobs that are aligned to their values. In response to this demand from lawyers many law firms have implemented agile working practices into their businesses. Underwood believes that these schemes will help but not as much as intended.

Underwood said: “My fear is that it will be a small band aid over a much bigger problem that there is simply too much work to do and not enough control over when you do that work and how you do that work in order for that kind of system to have much of an impact.”

Recently Herbert Smith Freehills announced it plans to implement an agile working initiative across its London practice groups. The firm had trialled the initiative, which allowed partners and fee-earners to work from home one day each week.

Clifford Chance’s London managing partner David Bickerton is also encouraging partners to work from home. He has described flexible working as the “new normal” method of working and said that clients do not care where a lawyer sits as long as the work is carried out.

A survey last year found that two in every five lawyers would not choose law as a career if given the choice again.


29 May 14: Lawyers’ main causes of stress revealed

1 May 14: Two in five lawyers would not choose law again