US firms in London are far less encouraging of work-life balance than their UK peers, a Lawyer 2B survey of stress in law has revealed.
The survey found that some 70 per cent of lawyers working at US firms in London thought their firm’s senior management “didn’t really” encourage employees to maintain a work-life balance, compared with 29% of magic circle lawyers and 46 per cent of those at other large London firms who felt the same way.
However, the survey also reveals that despite this, magic circle lawyers at every level generally worked longer hours than their US firm counterparts. One quarter of US firm trainees reported typically working more than 55 hours a week, compared with 57 per cent of those at magic circle firms, while at qualified lawyer level, 75 per cent of magic circle lawyers were averaging more than 55 hours per week compared to 68 per cent of US firms’ lawyers.
|Trainees||Magic circle||US in London|
|Working more than 55 hours a week||57%||25%|
|Working more than 65 hours a week||21%||13%|
|Working more than 75 hours a week||14%||0%|
|Qualified lawyers||Magic circle||US in London|
|Working more than 55 hours a week||75%||68%|
|Working more than 65 hours a week||46%||20%|
|Working more than 75 hours a week||13%||0%|
Magic circle lawyers were also the most cynical, with 50 per cent believing that their firm’s talk of work-life balance was merely lip service and only 18 per cent genuinely convinced that their firm’s management really believed in employees maintaining a work-life balance.
|Does your senior management actively encourage employees to maintain a work-life balance?||Magic circle||US in London|
|Yes, and I think they really believe it||18%||12%|
|Yes, but I think it’s just lip service||50%||15%|
|Don’t know/no opinion||3%||3%|
Lawyers at small London firms were most positive about their management’s attitude to work-life balance, with 46 per cent of respondents believing their firm had a genuine commitment to it.
American firms also fare poorly when it comes to stress-busting policies: only 6 per cent of respondents in this group were aware of stress-management initiatives provided by their place of work, compared to 40 per cent of magic circle lawyers.
Other key findings from the survey of 446 lawyers included:
- 48 per cent of lawyers say their work is affecting their personal life
- 44 per cent of trainees cite difficult or unpleasant superiors as a cause of stress
- Only 17 per cent of lawyers are aware of stress managment policies in place at their firm
The full results and analysis of the survey can be found at the links below.
Stress in Law survey: full results
- Lead article: Stress in the City
- Stress survey: lawyers’ working hours
- Stress survey: what are the main causes of stress?
- Stress survey: what policies are in place?
- Stress survey: what firms encourage work-life balance?
- Stress survey: turning work down
- Feature article: Time management for young lawyers
- Feature article: US firms in London: myths and realities