Stress is a major concern in almost every industry in the world. The risks of exhaustion, burnout and chronic anxiety exists in almost every profession, being addressed by the World Health Organization as a large-scale problem. Lawyers face the same levels of stress as engineers, marketing managers and web designers. The main difference, lawyers also bear with moral burdens. The constant pressure of dealing with complex cases or dead-end litigation causes depression and mental instability within the legal sector.
Compulsive gambling is one of the more stigmatized mental health issues in the legal profession. Gambling addiction is known as a “process disorder.” Gambling stimulates the brain's reward system much like drugs or alcohol can leading to addiction. Left unchecked it will lead to devastating results to legal careers, personal lives and families.
A study from Johns Hopkins University that looked at the prevalence of major depression in 104 different occupations found that lawyers were 3.6 times more likely to experience depression than those in other professions. Long hours and late nights are the norm for many lawyers. If you fail to properly take care of yourself, physical and emotional exhaustion can quickly and negatively affect your personal and professional life.
In mergers, the absorbing firm decides who stays and who goes, all based on overall performance, billable hours and an excruciating interview. In most cases, they will keep most of their juniors based on loyalty and experience, but in the event of a complete closure of the firm, it becomes a fire sale of talent and everyone must go.
Retention for many organizations starts with strong leadership and management that is dedicated to fostering a favorable workplace culture. This can certainly be challenging in the law firm setting, which is busy, stressful, chaotic at times and full of big personalities. Creating a culture that recognizes and rewards great talent is one of the best ways to retain talented staff.
According to the New York Law Journal, there are over 60 legal employers participating in the Pledge Campaign organized by the American Bar Association’s Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession (ABA Working Group) to date. Countless reports and studies have documented the fact that attorneys suffer from high rates of substance abuse and depression.[i] However, the good news is that this issue is getting the long-overdue attention and people in the legal field are starting to go beyond talk and following through with real, positive action.
'Dark data’ is an issue that almost every law firm has to deal with, there is no exact law or specific guidance on how to manage it. However, attorneys still have an explicit obligation to preserve and protect client records. Unmanaged, uncategorized content is widespread at most law firms. The bulk of a firm’s dark data is often old client data, such as scanned files, email attachments and bulk file imports added into a file system.
In the race to adopt new technology and new concepts, it is no secret that the legal industry comes last. The legal industry has always been and continues to be perceived as an old-fashioned sector, and a great number of lawyers like it that way. However, many law firms are realizing the true potential and impact of several technological developments, especially when applied to legal services. Among these new developments, BIG DATA has become a useful tool for legal practitioners everywhere.
Non-billable tasks at your law firm are a part of running your law firm but finding ways to increase efficiencies are also important. It will allow you to find additional time to work on additional tasks such as including billable work or marketing or networking to source new clients. Law firms, whether they are solo practice or part of a global firm, rely on the constant flow of information whether it is related to billing, communications, contact profiles or case documents. The technology available today has made it quite easy to track and access data when it’s in a digital format. With better, more convenient access to information, you can see more of what goes on at your firm.
According to an American Bar Association survey, only 60% of respondents report that their firms have a policy in place to manage the retention of information/data held by the firm.[ii] To avoid consequences from breached data, law firms need to be more proactive about their security. A data leak or breach can lead to an exodus of clients, an IT disaster, financial loss, and even regulatory fines.