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Over 60% of legal staff want to work from home post-lockdown

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Not having to commute top reason for ditching the office

The majority of legal workers want to continue working form home when the lockdown restrictions are lifted, according to new findings.

The research, undertaken by Hitachi Capital UK, found that 61% of legal staff want greater opportunities to work from their sitting rooms and kitchens post-lockdown, with a third citing the lack of commute as their top motivator for ditching the office.

Other top reasons included the reduction in meetings (28%) and the cost savings of not having to commute to the office every day (14%).

But how does law stack up against other professions?

Sixty-nine percent of recruitment/HR staff and 67% of sales workers said they would prefer to work from home post-lockdown, while 65% of respondents working in the science and pharmaceutical sectors would pick the sofa over the office desk once the restrictions are lifted, as did 63% of workers in IT, creative arts and design.

Commenting on the findings, which were based on the responses of 1,818 UK offices workers, Hitachi Capital’s CEO Robert Gordon said: “Working from home has both its pros and cons, and our research shows that it could definitely have a lasting impact on the habits of law workers.”

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

He continued:

“This changing landscape provides employers with an opportunity to re-evaluate their business models. Remote working has forced everyone to rethink their working practises and opens up new opportunities for attracting and retaining the best talent from a wider pool. It could also lead to operational savings, using agile working to offset the cost of expanding office premises.”

Legal Cheek previously reported on how junior lawyers were adapting to working from home, with some enjoying it more than others.

One magic circle rookie revealed that they were struggling to keep their work and home life separate, due in part to the lack of support they were receiving from their firm. Another City trainee told us their firm is “very supportive” and by contrast, their home-working experience had been good so far.

30 Comments

Pardner

Unless you are billing 10 per cent over your normal hours, you’re coming in.

(11)(16)

JDP

I ask my trainees to say that to me.

(3)(2)

Anon

Working from home for at least part of the week will be a lot more common/acceptable than it used to which can only be a positive

(35)(2)

Vac scheme offer holder

Does anyone know if SPB promote working from home? I have a vacs scheme there you see.

(6)(30)

Built like a fridge

Any news on the vac scheme yet???

(5)(10)

Loud as a motorbike

Only one month to go!!!

(2)(9)

Vac scheme offer holder

I know! I’m looking forward to taking my rightful place at the top table too!! When do you guys start??

(3)(9)

Anon

My one concern with this would be quality of training for the juniors. Extremely broad brush but I think the split would be:

Trainees and junior Associates: Mainly in shared accommodation in zones 1-3, no pressing need to be home earlier. Keen to work in the office.

Senior Associates, of Counsel types: Mainly in decent sized houses out in zone 4/5 or the Home Counties, childcare issues. Keen to work from home.

Partners: Split between those commuting from big places out in the Home Counties, keen to WFH; those who’ve moved to a decent house more central now they can afford it, happy with either; and the divorcees living in flats very near the office. Probably 50/50 split on numbers.

So the risk is lots of very junior staff getting little hands on training, interspersed with the odd partner, who’ll be too busy to supervise in the main.

Could make 3 days in the office a condition of being a trainee supervisor to get round this?

(21)(16)

Anon

This isn’t right. The vast majority of the trainees and juniors I know are loving working from home. The fact that they might not have a “pressing need” to be home earlier doesn’t mean, y’know, that they don’t want to be.

(45)(6)

Anon

Okay, fair play. My trainee was saying it was a bit shitty working round the kitchen table with 3 others or just on his bed. I thought this would be the norm for juniors, but I might be underestimating the numbers who can afford somewhere with a proper workspace.

Something that could change when everything reopens is that juniors will often be meeting friends for food/drinks after work somewhere central anyway. Obviously, that’s not a factor at the moment, but in “normal” WFH there’s a higher chance they’d be travelling into the City/West End that day other than for work.

(16)(4)

Dr Fran

“My trainee”…shut up you sixth former!

(17)(13)

Realist

There’s a good app call Fish Bowl which is like Facebook for lawyers. It verifies your ID using your work email address, so people like ‘Dr Fran’ are weeded out, and you know that it’s solely grown-ups using it: you can see titles, i.e. Associated, Senior Associate, Partner, and avoid this rubbish.

Anon

Lawyers also exist outside of London/Home Counties…

(28)(3)

tips@legalcheek.com

Where? Please give some examples. Never left London in my life, always assumed that there is some sort of a wall around it.

(7)(6)

Greg

Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool

(6)(1)

Anon

Well, glorified paralegals for London-based commercial partners, ambulance chasers, conveyancers and claims handlers at least. Not that these are all that bad though! Not everyone needs, or can afford, a market leader. Regional lawyers provide necessary services and usually get paid relatively well for the cost of living in the immediate area.

(5)(6)

Ex-moorgater

My goodness, you sound awfully prejudiced. If you ever make it up the ladder with that attitude, you’ll realise that some firms are doing very interesting and valuable work from the regions; particularly because some very intelligent people don’t want to have to live in London and firms also don’t want the high overhead costs.

I’ve worked on EU-based securitisations, Middle-eastern multi-mullion pound construction disputes, feeder funds, loan transactions (primary and secondary market, bilateral and syndicated)….the list goes on. All of this from Bristol. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

(1)(0)

Lawyer

Training will hardly be affected. The reality is most trainees just figure out things for themselves. The only source of genuine training is training sessions and these can easily take place remotely.

(27)(1)

corporate/commercial in house trainee

Can anyone recommend any training sessions to complete while wfh?

(1)(0)

lol

If this question isn’t a joke, your TC must be so so shoddy

(5)(0)

corporate/commercial in house trainee

It’s not a joke. Anyway…any advice would be useful (clearly photocopying in the back room has you butt hurt).

Realist

You’re in a difficult position because in-house training is third-rate at the best of time, let alone when you’re WFH. This is for many reasons, the most obvious of which are:

1. You’re a cost centre, not a profit centre – your company wants to invest as little as possible in you;

2. You have small teams and therefore no one available to delivery training (or any business case to do so); and

3. Private practice firms increase your charge-out rate with your seniority and ability – there’s a virtuous circle in investing in you.

If you’re trying to do DIY training, consider Practical Law. It has useful guides to different areas of law, and you can learn quite a lot. Seriously consider escaping into private practice as soon as possible after qualification, though: in-house is where careers go to die.

(3)(0)

Rhi

Not all trainees are 22 straight out of uni or live in the same city as the office. Some will have hoes to run and families to provide for.

(5)(0)

Realist

Was that a typo?…

(1)(1)

Joe

They really tried to be discreet with the “One magic circle rookie revealed“. Mmm I wonder who that could be

(16)(0)

Ceve Ornwell

I’ve no idea!

(7)(0)

Peve Tornfell

Me neither!

(2)(0)

Senior Joe

The only thing I’m missing about going into the office is the opportunity to appreciate the young talent.

(2)(3)

In house corporate/commercial trainee

can anyone recommend any decent online courses?

(1)(0)

John

“from” home

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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