There’s less office politics in law than any other industry, new research finds

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Nearly a third of survey respondents thought engaging in water cooler tittle-tattle will help further their careers

Lawyers experience the lowest levels of office politics, according to new statistics released this week.

The study shows that just over half (56.5%) of those plying their trade within the legal sector felt office politics existed in their workplace. The result places lawyers at the very bottom of the gossip league table, just behind those working in tourism (60.4%) and retail (62.2%).

The research, undertaken by recruitment vetting website uCheck, puts civil service at the top for office tittle-tattle (78.3%), just ahead of advertising and engineering (both scoring 76.5%).

Perhaps this anti-gossip survey result stems from the supportive, friendly environments boasted by a number of top law firms.

Last year’s Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey revealed that nine firms questioned scored A*s in our peer supportiveness categories. Gushes from the survey included: “I wouldn’t want to be a trainee anywhere else because we hire the best trainees!”, “everyone makes time to explain and answer questions” and “the trainees in my year and the year above are brilliant.” In the end, it was Baker McKenzie that walked away with the gong for Best Law Firm for Peer Support 2017.

Elsewhere in the uCheck survey — which garnered responses from 1,500 UK professionals across 17 industries — over a third of those questioned felt that partaking in gossip round the water cooler could actually help them bag a promotion, a partner promotion maybe? Seventy-two percent of respondents who held this view are male.

Comparably, nearly a third of survey respondents felt that office politics can have a positive impact on the workplace. Again, the majority of those who held this view are male (59%). Finally, almost half of workers felt that getting involved in office politics was unavoidable.

Commenting on the findings, psychologist and life coach Robert Stewart said:

It may appear surprising that such a considerable number of people find office politics unavoidable, however, it is worth considering that standing around the water cooler discussing colleagues doesn’t stray too far from our evolution, albeit with water coolers replaced with waterholes and colleagues with predators. People have a natural tendency to want to find their position within a group or tribe, so office politics becomes an inherent part of the work environment.

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