Survey reveals why lawyers are stressed at work

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Nearly 70% of UK lawyers believe they are in the most stressful profession, new research by Keystone Law has revealed.

The virtual outfit surveyed more than 300 legal professionals from top 50 to 100 UK firms, and found that 67% of lawyers felt they were more stressed than those working in other professions.  Just 22% of respondents thought their stress levels were on par.

“With the UK now awash with new market entrants, competition in the industry is at its highest, placing more pressure on partners and forcing many to work around 40–70% more than their contracted hours,” the report said.

“Consequently, many firms are offering fewer and fewer opportunities for their employees to enjoy life outside of law.”

Workload was cited as the number one stress causer, with 80% of lawyers saying a hefty workload is to blame.  Others said client demands, billing targets, lack of support, competition and partnership issues were the biggest stress inducers. 

“Lawyers feel constantly stressed out because they can’t afford to take their time with their work,” one Keystone lawyer told Legal Cheek.

“They are under pressure from their clients to get things done quickly (and as cheaply as possible) and from their firms to make as much money as possible.”

But the research also found that just a third of associates and partners thought that a more flexible approach to working would help with stress levels.  Rather, more money, lower billing targets and better management and support, would be better stress-combatting measures.

“The biggest pro response came in regard to banning the billable hour, with 87% saying that they envisaged a timesheet-free future,” the report said.