A new report from Thomson Reuters Acritas on future working practices sheds some light on the changing work attitudes among legal professionals today
The COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing lockdowns and economic crisis have given many people a chance to reflect on their lives. Further, the dramatic switch to remote working for many professionals, including lawyers, has given additional pause, and many lawyers are now showing desire to keep the most positive aspects of the new remote working regime once the pandemic passes.
Indeed, a new report from Thomson Reuters Acritas, Stellar Performance: The Impact of the Lock-down and Desires for Future Working Practices, sheds some light on these changing work attitudes among legal professionals and also on what law firms need to do to adjust to a dramatically shifting work environment.
The report shows that, not surprisingly, more than three-quarters (77%) of senior lawyers interviewed for the report said they want to retain elements of the virtual, remote working environment that they’ve gotten used to over the past seven months or so. More dramatically, 22% said they are likely to leave their firm if it didn’t want to accommodate the new way the lawyers want to work.
These two statistics alone reflect the urgency for law firm leaders to understand how their lawyers want their working patterns to change, so firms can prioritize their pursuit of strategies that will deliver the greatest return on everything from talent retention to office space requirements, and from collaboration to technology.
The new report is based on a survey of the Acritas Stars database, which is comprised of client-nominated stand-out talent. More than 800 lawyers participated from across the world, adding this report to the growing body of research Acritas has compiled to challenge and evaluate law firm talent management.
The report also raises key questions for law firms to address, including:
- What will the reimagined office of the future look like, and how can it maximize productivity?
- How can firms better utilize teams, resources, and technology to maintain productivity and service?
- Does a lawyer’s success depend on where they are working?
- What tech investments will help lawyers perform effectively and efficiently in any working environment?
- How can law firms create a more inclusive culture and a better motivated workforce?
The report makes it very clear that after taking in the work and life balance lessons of the pandemic, lawyers want flexibility in where and when they work. Moreover, they want to take greater control of their working schedules, and they want their firms to support them in this.
We’ve previously seen that younger lawyers seemed quite put off by what they see as the inflexible, traditional ways of the legal profession, especially within law firms. Now, it’s not just younger lawyers who want change, however, it is the current and future stand-out lawyers within the legal profession — and they want change now, not just promised for the future.
And at least a portion of them are willing to walk if they don’t get what they want.
For more on this report and the future of legal work, register to join us for a webinar at noon, EDT, on Oct. 20.