Long hours are prevalent in the legal industry, and not just at large law firms. While many see in-house counsel life as the promised land of green pastures, 9-5 hours and work-life balance, the reality is quite different for many. In-house counsel often work longer hours and on more projects than they did when they were in private practice, and for good reason. In-house counsel are closer to the business function than outside counsel, and when issues and emergencies arise, in-house counsel are often first at the scene. In most cases, in-house counsel must rapidly identify the issues, figure out options for resolving them, and communicate them effectively to management and other stakeholders. In-house counsel do not have the luxury to spend a month on long-winded memos that conclude with an “unequivocal maybe”. Indeed, in-house counsel must move quickly and nimbly to generate effective solutions that will solve an organization’s problems. If you are experiencing burnout, look for ways to turn things around and be the best lawyer you can be.
“Burnout and long hours appear to be making life miserable for the most dissatisfied lawyers. Lawyers work an average of 53 hours per week, according to a Bloomberg Law survey of 1,554 law firm and in-house lawyers. The 6% of lawyers reporting the lowest job satisfaction work even longer hours, Bloomberg Law reports here and here. In-house lawyers with the lowest job satisfaction scores worked an average of 60.9 hours per week, while law firm lawyers with the most dissatisfaction worked an average of 57.8 hours a week. The most satisfied lawyers, representing 59% of the total, worked about 11 hours less than their dissatisfied counterparts at in-house jobs and about four hours less at law firms. Burnout is also a problem. The most dissatisfied lawyers said they feel burnout 74% of the time, on average, while satisfied lawyers feel burnout 28% of the time.”
Read: Most dissatisfied lawyers work longer hours and report more burnout at ABA Journal – Daily News