Lawyer burnout: The Great Resignation

It is not easy to find high-caliber legal talent for your law firm. Finding qualified lawyers to join your firm requires you to invest time, money, and significant resources to find the right person. Even if you hire the best lawyers available, keeping them on your team for the long term is still essential. Keeping your legal talent can take much work, especially if you have remote attorneys.

Even if you have won the fight to secure great legal talent, how will your firm be able to win the battle against law firm attrition? Can you help remote associates achieve their desired work-life balance while maintaining a solid connection with the firm?

There are many ways to retain hidden legal talent. To make attorneys feel like they are part of the firm, you need to be creative and have the ability to provide a balance between their private and professional lives. This is especially true if they only have a minimal physical connection to the firm or work remotely.

What effect does The Great Resignation have on the legal profession?

Employees began to question how they lived their lives after the Pandemic of 2020. Workers began to think about how they balanced their personal and professional lives. Many employees became dissatisfied with their lives and changed their work-life balance. The “Great Resignation” was a movement to balance work and personal life.

The “Great Resignation” did not spare the legal community in 2021. Instead, it led to disillusioned and burned-out attorneys who reexamined the culture of their law firms and took steps to find a work-life balance they liked.

The trend of resignations can also be considered a “great realization” or an awakening in which attorneys realize their value to their companies. They realized that their firms had failed, and they had better options and better ways to manage their attorney burnout. These attorneys decided to rethink their priorities, how they wanted to live, and how they would spend their time.

These attorneys often left the law firms they were employed by in an attempt to rebalance their lives. Unfortunately, offering them a salary raise was not enough to get them back to work. Many law firms lost the talent that they had worked so hard for.

Lawyer burnout: The effects of remote work environments

Law firms can accommodate remote attorneys. All they need is the willingness to use new support methods.

According to the 2022 Report on the Legal Market by the Center on Ethics at Georgetown University Law Center and the Thomson Reuters Institute (The State of the Legal Market ), law firms showed “surprising agility” during the Pandemic and while moving to remote work. Further, the report indicates that law firm leaders agree that a mix of remote and in-person work will continue to be a part of their culture.

Firms must maintain their flexibility and adaptability to meet remote attorneys’ legal needs. Remote work can present issues with fair work assignments, mentoring and evaluations, fair career progression, and maintaining a firm culture. These issues can lead to burnout and an increased risk of attrition.

It is not enough to increase the salary of a remote lawyer in order to compensate for their isolation and disconnection from the office environment. A salary increase will not level the playing field or compensate for the lost opportunities due to being excluded from the office environment. Post-Great Resignation attorney values appreciation, recognition, and equity. These are intangible elements, but they are essential for preventing burnout and minimizing attrition.

The Great Resignation showed law firms how to end lawyer burnout.

Law firms have had the opportunity to reflect on and assess how to adapt and change to retain top legal talent and attract top new talent through the “Great Resignation.”

Law firms should reassess their remote workforce and consider improving the relationship between remote attorneys and their law firms. Remote attorneys must feel valued, recognized, and treated with fairness.

The report shows that law firms have adapted well to remote workers. They need to extend that flexibility and agility into other practice areas with time-saving tools to help in billing, case management, and client communications.

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