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Allen & Overy moves to reassure junior lawyers after rookie is ‘hospitalised with exhaustion’

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Firm is ‘monitoring the impact of workloads’

Magic circle giant Allen & Overy has stated that it “takes the wellbeing of our people very seriously” after a report emerged this morning of an associate being “hospitalised with exhaustion”.

According to unnamed “sources” quoted in legal blog RollOnFriday, the rookie was “taken to hospital suffering from exhaustion and stress” after reportedly low staffing levels led to a period of junior lawyers in the firm’s Dubai office “working 18-20 hour days, seven days a week”.

The firm, which scored a C grade for work/life balance in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18, has issued this official response:

“We have ensured that this individual has been looked after and is recovering. We take the wellbeing of our people very seriously, including monitoring the impact of workloads.”

Allen & Overy is by no means an outlier in terms of what it expects from its solicitors. According to our recently released law firm hours data based on over 2,000 trainee and junior lawyer responses, which has been used by the Financial Times, A&O’s average arrive in the office time is 9:10am and average leave time is 8:43pm. This equates to an average of just over 11 and a half hours spent in the office daily.

Five firms have later average leave the office times than A&O, while six firms have longer average daily hours, including two other magic circle firms. Unsurprisingly, the famously intense work environment of US firms means that it’s their London offices that lead the way on hours.

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