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Law firms need a sense of balance in their work ethic expectations

By Nick Jarrett-Kerr, Visiting Professor, Nottingham Law School

13 February 2014

"My family and friends think I am mad!" I was told by a young lawyer recently. Fairly new out of law school after attaining two degrees, he leaves home for the office at 5.30am to miss the traffic and is in the office until at least 9pm each night. He also works most weekends. In his firm, the expectation is for hard work and long hours. By contrast, I was nearly knocked over in the rush for the door at about 6pm at a larger firm recently, where moderate productivity has recently resulted in mediocre results.

There are no rights and wrongs here, but I cannot help feeling that some lawyers desire both an easy life and high rewards - an equation which does not sit easily with managing partners. So, what is the right balance?

Client expectations

What is not often done is to look at the position from the point of view of the client. I recently conducted some in-depth client interviews, and from these, I draw four rat...

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