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Research: 60% of lawyers want to ditch ‘stuffy office traditions’ like dress codes and long meetings

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Nearly half say they’d quit current role to join a more forward-thinking firm

More than half of lawyers believe “stuffy office traditions” such as strict dress code policies and unnecessarily long meetings need to be ditched by their firms, according to new research.

The research, produced by online job website CV-Library, found that 60% of lawyers are in favour of dropping “outdated” office customs, while almost half (41.4%) claim they’d quit their current role to join a “more modern” firm if it failed to address the problems.

According to researchers, the most hated office tradition among lawyers are the standardised “9-5 working hours” (56.3%), followed by “professional dress codes” (45.7%) and “long meetings” (33.3%). Other office issues flagged by the 120 respondents were “having to work in the office every day” (31.1%), “annual performance reviews” (26.7%), “providing office snacks on your birthday” (23.4%) and set workspaces (19.2%).

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Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, said:

“It’s no surprise that the 9-5 working day is viewed as the most outdated tradition. Flexible working in lieu of these traditional working hours is a particularly hot topic right now and is something that candidates should seriously consider when searching for work.”

While 72% of lawyers feel firms need to re-think office traditions, researchers found that just one in five (20.4%) believe it’s up to their bosses to decide if they want to hold onto them or not. Rounding off the list of office norms is “having to call in when sick (instead of texting or emailing)” (15.9%), followed by “employee opinion surveys” (13.6%) and “employee of the month schemes” (11.4%).

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45 Comments

MorningMonster

I agree with scrapping the 9-5 completely. People work better at different points of the day and in different environments.

I personally do not become human until around 11am. Having the flexibility to work remotely or come in later (and work later) would allow me and many of my colleagues to work more productively.

Goggins

Getting up at 4.30am everyday will change your life.

bob the goat

How so?

Anonymous

Because you’ll feel even more like shit.

Anonymous

Pipe down, Mark Wahlberg.

Anonymous

I would also personally prefer to have completely flexible working and I work better at unconventional times. However, the work of a lawyer is often collaborative and involves compromise in the form of working when the team as a whole works best.

We are not computer programmers who can stick headphones in and just focus on our task at hand. Perhaps you are in a litigation team with 8 solicitors, 2 barristers, 3 in-house counsel and a variety of other advisers/experts/foreign counsel feeding in. It is not uncommon to arrange several weekly calls or meetings to manage strategy and distribute what needs to be done in the coming weeks to members of the team.

Turns out the mutually convenient time is often somewhere between 9-5.

Anonymous

120 respondents. Wow. That reflects the hundreds of thousands of lawyers in practice.

Anonymous

Clifford Chance

Anonymous

Dechert

Anonymous

Dickfort

Anonymous

Dick-fart LLP

Anonymous

sinking ship

Anonymous

SPB you mean?

Anonymous

No, not SPB, Dick-fart LLP. You know, the trans-atlantic shit-show previously knows as Dechert LLP. The firm that hires any old shit trainees.

Anonymild

And pays North of £100k upon qualification, and is ranked Tier 1-3 in practice areas such as mid-market / high-end M&A in London.

Not such a bad firm huh?

Anonymous

Brutal

Anonymous

Clients expect a suit and a tie

Just sayin

Anonymous

Who creates the expectation?

Anonymous

Depends on the client. Some come in shorts and flip flops. Others are in a 3 piecer. Adapt to suit the circumstances. I’m going to look outdated and stuffy if I’m advising an agile start-up while wearing a tie.

Same goes for work hours: adapt to what suits your clients and your team. You don’t need to be sat at the desk at 9am until 6pm to be considered productive. Some people’s best work is done between 9pm-3am when everyone else has gone home. Personally I work best from 7am-4pm. We just have to be flexible and adaptable. Clients respect that, if you’re responsive when they need you.

Kronos

Quite. That’s why standard Greenberg Glusker LLP dress-code is panama hat and three-piece tweed suit for the top (top, top) half, and backless leather chaps for the bottom half. It allows our titans to blend seamlessly into any social situation.

Anonymous

This is brilliant

Anonymeaning

You, sir, are a comedy genius. Made my day!

Anonymurmurs

You’re not going to look stuffy, you’re going to look like the lawyer you are!

They didn’t come to a tech start-up consultant, they came to a reputable professional who is supposedly smart enough to tackle the legal issues which may/are affecting their business.

Look and act for the part!

Anonymous

Putting the suit on doesn’t make you smart. Taking the suit off doesn’t make you unreputable. Placing so much value on wearing the suit does make you seem foolish.

Anonymous

Clients dont see me in my chinos and t-shirt sat at my desk for 80%+ of the day.

correcting myself

don’t*

Anonymous

None of mine do…

Anonymeow

I understand the need to modernise, but am I the only one strictly against ditching a formal dress code?

The pride of being a lawyer is also dressing for the part (suit for men and nice dresses for women). People are unable to dress properly without a dress code, and the field would just lose its prestige (which is one of the few things which gets people through their boring day), and everyone would just look sloppy all the time.

Does anyone agree? I really hope so.

Anonymous

If I’m going to be stuck behind my desk 18 hours a day churning docs without even speaking to a colleague, never mind a client, I want to be comfortable. For me, that means not wearing a suit.

If I’m spending the day with clients, I wear a suit. Depending on the client the tie comes off (and that’s the majority of clients now).

I think the point is that we are treated as adults and have the free will to choose how to dress for our day. We’re not in school, we don’t need someone in a position of “power” arbitrarily telling us how to dress. When my workplace ditched the formal dress policy it had a noticeable positive effect on morale (got to distract from the pathetic annual raises somehow).

Anonymous

Linklaters have had a dress down policy for a couple of years now and it’s great. Everyone just keeps a suit behind their door to change into for client meetings.

The only problem is those partners who still think you need a suit on to work properly and quietly don’t give good work to those who don’t, ironically making it a self fulfilling prophecy. I can’t see why you shouldn’t just wear what you want – as long as you’re reasonably well presented. If that’s a suit then no problem. My banking clients rarely wear suits to meetings – mostly they’re in chinos and jumpers.

Anonymint

We’re transitioning to a world where everyone will just eventually be in tracksuits and trainers looking sloppy all the time.

Where is the pride of looking and acting like a lawyer?

Becoming one is a steep journey which leads to self-elevation through years of studies and hard work.

Surely, you’d want to look the part? Are people really this lazy nowadays they cannot even put the effort to dress properly (and reflective of their profession) anymore?

Anonymous

If you’re sitting in the office all day doing docs and emails why do you need a suit? I don’t see a client on 95% of working days.

Other than client meetings and similar it seems weird to me to be so obsessed with wearing a suit to tell everyone how great a lawyer you are. Do you ask everyone on conf calls what they’re wearing them rank them accordingly?

Your slippery slope thing is obviously nonsense. 100 years ago people would be appalled to see a lawyer without a hat, a waistcoat, and a long overcoat. Tracksuits don’t look good, while a shirt, chinos, and jacket can look even better than a suit if done right. Do you really want to fix the current two piece suit for all of eternity as the only acceptable clothing for business people? And do you really think that tracksuits are ever going to be normal business wear?

Wombleby

Especially considering some of the cheap polyester shyte and vinyl pointy shoes you see retards wearing around Liverpool Street station.

A good 100% wool suit will always look excellent.

Anonymous

I know some counsel who always wear three piece with morning trousers without fail and always have regular work.

Clients find a well dressed lawyer re-assuring.

Anonymous

I know some magic circle partners who never wear a suit in the office and bring in 10m+ a year in billings. What’s your point?

Anonymous

A lot of people- myself included- don’t put much stock in dressing and looking the part. Wearing a suit will not improve my performance. I take pride in being a lawyer but that pride is derived from the quality of the work I do and the standards I maintain. If that work was done while in chinos what does it matter. Of course when dealing with clients I’ll wear a suit- if only because they expect it- but when I’m behind my desk in my office what does it matter

Anon

I would have provided a response earlier to Anonymeow Feb 12 2019 10:34am but I had to locate my “nice dress” before I could.

Anonymous

Suits for court and client facing work.

Smart casual for office.

Anonymantis

In 50 years it will be: “Adidas sweatpants for office, smart casual for client facing work”.

In 100 years it will be: “Adidas all the time”…

Happy?

Or would you rather look sleek like Harvey Specter and have people respect your status symbol as a lawyer?

Anonymous

That suit won’t make your shyte job at Trowers feel any better mate

Dan

I think you’ll find the name is Jonathan Spector, and he wears a football kit.

You pr*ck.

Not Harvey Specter

Suits isn’t realistic, and we aren’t pretending to be lawyers on set. When you’ve sat in a suit during the summer months whilst stuck inside a stuffy office preparing documents, I think you can have an opinion. Until then, stick to watching Netflix and masturbating over the idea of being legally qualified.

Anonymous

Lawyers are actually really good at keeping internal meetings short, because it’s wasted units. Move in-house and you realise many people’s jobs consist almost exclusively of attending endless, interminable meetings.

I still expect externals in suits for meetings, I’ll wear one too. Fuck wearing a tie though, I’m not reading the news.

Flexi-working? Flexi-skiving

Anywhere else fair enough, but for London and the eye watering rates you pay you kind of expect people to be in the office at least some of the time to justify the costs you make.

And quite frankly it is nice to have people in the office so that you can speak to them, and then not have to mess about when you cannot get ahold (both meanings) of the twerp who will not pick up their phone or respond to any communication because they won’t use their devices, or can’t use them.

I think what a lot of people miss when they give the spiel about the technology being for to facilitate flexible working in this day and age is that not everyone is capable of utilising the means to make it work.

Anonymous

Utter bollocks.

Try working in litigation and “flexible working”.

Not starting work until 10am because you have “nasty poopy tired face DO NOT WANT” or “I don’t work Thursdays” will probably lose you clients. Or worse.

Grow up.

Or pick your firm and area more carefully.

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