Accessibility Links

UK lawyers 'happy with quality of work'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 25/06/13

Despite the ongoing turmoil in sections of the legal market, with partnerships thin on the ground and some firms hiring less because of the economic crisis, the quality of work being carried out by UK lawyers has not suffered unduly.

According to data from Legal Week's annual Employee Satisfaction Report, which this year canvassed the views of almost 4,000 lawyers below partner level, the brave little soldiers are performing well despite the problems facing their firms on a macro level.

It found belief that the standard of work and the quality of firms' clients has returned to pre-crisis level, after suffering a significant slump in the post-2007 years as companies scrambled to deal with the economic downturn.

Herbert Smith Freehills senior partner Jonathan Scott said: "Sentiment in major commercial law firms follows upticks in work flows. This is likely to be reflected in staff morale and people feeling a bit more optimistic. People are working harder and longer, but that gets the adrenaline going."

Leaving aside the question of whether intense legal work is quite as much of a thrill as Mr Scott imagines, it is clear that lawyers have become happier with their working conditions, expressing their satisfaction with internal opportunities and the prestige of their business.

However, junior lawyers are bearing the brunt of the funding cuts and economy drives, and are understandably somewhat less sanguine about their prospects. According to Legal Week, the recent spate of redundancies has had a negative effect on morale in this demographic.

Weil Gotshal & Manges London managing partner Mike Francies criticised this trend, suggesting that talent management is even more important than usual during times of economic drought.

"Law firms are looking much more carefully at professional and career development, training, work allocation and the like for their lawyers," he declared.