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Survey: Four In 10 Lawyers Object To Workplace Stress

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MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Helping legal professionals diminish job-related stress and improve work-life balance may be an employer’s most effective retention strategy, a new survey indicates. Forty-two percent of attorneys interviewed by Robert Half Legal cited reduced stress levels as the one aspect of their job they would change, an 11-point increase since the survey was last conducted, in 2008. Fewer work hours followed, with 22 percent of the response, down eight points from the previous survey.

The survey points to the importance of personal time to balance the pressures of legal work. Nearly six in 10 lawyers (58 percent) said physical exercise is the best technique to alleviate stress. Taking a break ranked second, at 19 percent. These findings about work-related stress correlate with Robert Half’s Work Happy research, in which legal professionals reported the highest stress levels among professional fields surveyed.

Lawyers were asked, “If you could change one aspect of your job as a lawyer, which one of the following would it be?” Their responses:

Decreased job stress

42%

Less hours at work or more personal time 

22%

Greater professional autonomy

7%

Accelerated career growth

6%

Something else

5%

Would not change anything

2%

Don’t know/no answer

16%

100%

Lawyers were also asked, “Which one of the following activities is most effective for reducing job-related stress?” Their responses:*

Getting physical exercise

58%

Taking a break 

19%

Talking to a family member or friend

9%

Playing music

4%

Something else

8%

Don’t know

3%

101%

*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

“Unrelenting job stress and long hours can lead to staff attrition and productivity declines,” said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “To address these issues and retain key talent, legal employers are offering flexible schedules, telecommuting and remote work options, as well as additional vacation days.”

Sullivan added that many legal organizations also are enhancing on-site perks to help employees better balance work and personal demands,

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