How Law Firms Can Navigate the Great Resignation


The COVID-19 pandemic changed the traditional 9 to 5 workday for many organisations and employees. The corporate world needed to pivot quickly and adopt technologies and systems that facilitated remote working for employees.

Category:
Legal-Life Balance

Remote working through the pandemic allowed us to appreciate a new way of working that saved time on travelling and gave us more time to connect with family and friends. Employees had a chance to reevaluate what was truly important to them. Post pandemic, many employees quit their jobs to find employment opportunities that afford them flexibility and a better work-life balance.

What is the Great Resignation?

The ‘Great Resignation’ is a term coined by Professor Anthony Klotz, and it refers to the ground-breaking number of employees resigning from their jobs as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many organisations have suffered—and are still suffering— from the Great Resignation. This is a direct result of their business model failing to adapt to the current needs of employees. These organisations are pushing for a full return to the office and clinging to the traditional 9 to 5 workday model

With much speculation as to the reason for the Great Resignation, there is no denying that it’s partially fueled by a growing desire to find happiness, fulfilment and a better work-life balance.

Is the Great Resignation Affecting the Australian Legal Sector?

Four million American workers resigned from their jobs in July 2021.

According to Limeade's research, Australians aren't quitting their jobs as rapidly as their U.S. counterparts. But burnout and a perceived lack of support during the lockdown are fueling a massive exit.

The Australian legal sector is not exempted from the Great Resignation.

In recent research conducted by the International Bar Association (IBA), assessing 3,000 young lawyers (under 40) worldwide;

  • 54% of the lawyers revealed that they were "somewhat" or "highly likely" to move to a different workplace
  • 33% planned to move to another area of law
  • 20% were considering leaving the law profession altogether.

This research shows that legal professionals are also looking for work flexibility, personal fulfilment, better work culture and career advancement opportunities.

Do Legal Professionals Experience Burnout?

Australians bid farewell to burnout and went after a better work-life balance with the Great Resignation.

Lawyers work in high-pressure environments. The meticulous attention to detail and striving for perfection predisposes them to depression, stress, anxiety and burnout. In addition, the fear of losing their jobs or not being promoted has stopped many lawyers from seeking help.

Fortunately, many employees found relief from this pressure and a better quality of life during the pandemic as it forced them to slow down and reevaluate their priorities.

How to Respond

Here are some practical ways to navigate the Great Resignation.

Work Flexibility

After experiencing the flexibility and work-life balance that remote working offers, it's difficult for employees to return to the 9 to 5 routine and spend a full week in the office.

A hybrid working environment is a way for firms to find a middle ground. Three days working from home and two days working in the office is a great way to start. Firms need to offer a strong value proposition with enough work flexibility to win the best legal talent.

Positive Work Culture

Toxic work culture is common in legal firms due to fierce competition and pressure to perform. Therefore, it’s no surprise that employees are unwilling to return to the workplace after being in a safe space during the pandemic.

To navigate the Great Resignation, conduct a work culture review amongst your staff. Try implementing company retreats and engage in collaborative activities that bring the team together and foster a positive work environment.

Internal Training of More Junior Staff and Non-Fee Earners

Provide visible career development opportunities and training for all your employees. Investing in your employees is a valuable pursuit.

However, many firms only invest in training and workshops for their top talent or senior professionals, neglecting junior staff and the non-fee earners.

It’s important that your organisation extends internal training and job perks to ALL your staff. You will be an attractive employer to potential candidates and have employees ready to step up to the next level if your ‘top talent’ decides to move on to greener pastures.

Digital Transformation

What better way to navigate the Great Resignation than digitising your legal firm? Digital technology helps to improve efficiency, capabilities and customer relations. Lawyer’s also expect law firms to have the latest technology to help eliminate unnecessary and monotonous work.

The Mckinsey Global Institute revealed that 23% of a lawyer's work could be automated. From filing papers to reviewing documents and signing contracts, technology can eliminate these monotonous tasks in a firm.

With intelligent legal software like LawMaster's, you can completely automate your legal firm and deliver a seamless employee experience.

LawMaster software has five key management centres;

  • Practice management
  • Matter management
  • Document management
  • Financial management
  • Knowledge management.

Our software helps you seamlessly manage your firm, and you don't have to entirely depend on human resources to run your firm.

Conclusion

As much as the Great Resignation seems overwhelming, it remains an opportunity for the legal profession to re-evaluate its work culture, expectations and prehistoric norms.

Employers need to be more flexible with work requirements, prioritise their staff's personal development and mental health, and provide regular upskilling. This way, firms can easily navigate the Great Resignation while also earning the respect and loyalty of their staff.

Book a demo with LawMaster today so that we can put you ahead of the competition. Or feel free to call our team on 1300 135 214.

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