Lawyers work most hours and are more loyal than anyone else

Avatar photo

By Alex Aldridge on

Members of the legal profession are wonderful employees


Lawyers work longer hours and are more likely to stay in their current job than other professionals, research has found.

42% of lawyers put in 50 hours per week or more — shaming the slackers who populate other industries. A mere 21% of marketing professionals work such hours, while the situation isn’t much more impressive in HR or accountancy, where a respective 25% and 30% of professionals do in excess of 50 hours a week.

On the measure of ‘average hours worked’ lawyers aren’t quite so hot, with the 45.5 hours that a typical member of the legal profession clocks up each week being beaten by sales professionals (who do 45.6 hours a week) and financial services professionals (47.7 weekly hours). Still, lawyers work longer average hours than most, beating secretaries, accountants and people in marketing, HR, IT and procurement.

What’s more, according to the survey of 755 professionals by City recruiter Laurence Simons, lawyers are extremely loyal. Only 30% say they would start looking for a new job after less than three years in the role. By contrast, a whopping 65% of marketeers said they would commence their job search within this time-frame. People working in “projects” and IT were almost as flighty, with 60% of the former and 52% of the latter confessing to itchy feet in their first three years in a job.

The good news for lawyers doesn’t stop there, with their wonderfulness further underlined by the fact that they are more motivated by work-life balance and career progression than money.

60% of lawyers consider work-life balance to be “very important” to achieving career satisfaction, which is more than for pay and benefits (56%), interest in the work (48%) or status and responsibility (27%).

When asked for their reasons for leaving a job, 29% of lawyers said they would seek new employment due to a lack of career opportunities, 18% because of an unsupportive boss and 15% as a result of a negative salary review or poor company culture. Only 2% would leave their job because a bonus had not been paid.

Responding to the survey, Robert Walters director of legal recruitment Colin Loth gushed:

“The survey highlights a number of important details, confirming again that legal professionals are extremely hard working, committed and willing to put in the hours to take a transaction or case over the line. Moreover, compared to other professions, legal specialists are more likely to search out career advancement options internally than jump ship to get ahead.”