What are the top four benefits you should be seeking in your legal career?

Selecting to pursue a career in the legal profession requires serious determination. Individuals must excel throughout their academic studies, putting in intensive hours which will continue to stretch into their full-time roles. Thankfully there are benefits aplenty for those that see the course and take a seat at a respectable partnership.

Research from 2018 found that Generation X are particularly unhappy in the legal profession, with 66 per cent of lawyers planning to leave their current organisation. This continued theme has led many to rethink the way their practice conducts itself and have begun to reform priorities to boost employee satisfaction to the forefront. With such a wide variety of benefits starting to crop up, which are perks in particular that budding lawyers should take note of.

Holiday allowance

It’s a well-known fact that lawyers, due to the nature of their work, can find it hard to take a break. The inherent culture of the profession imbues a non-stop case after case mentality onto the workforce – and it’s not hard to see why. When your firm is flying and the clients keep on coming, it can often be difficult to take a much-needed break.

Fortunately, the legal profession is one the most generous when it comes to annual leave allocation. When applying for a new role, keep an eye out for firms that reward their staff with above average statutory holiday – these firms understand the value of employee wellbeing, and in exchange for your hard work and commitment, they’ll be more than happy to give you the breaks you deserve.

Flexi-time

On average, a lawyer will bill for 2200 hours of work per year – that’s a significantly higher rate than many other professions. What’s more, most lawyers will work many more hours than they bill, leaving themselves with hardly any time for family, friends, and the inevitable Netflix binge (Suits Season 8 just landed on Netflix FYI).

Perhaps it’s no surprise then, that flexi-time has been at the forefront of employment perks in the legal profession for quite some time. From an employer’s perspective, gifting those precious hours back to the employee shows that a practice is both forward thinking and understanding of the demands the role places on your shoulders. As prepared as you may be to throw yourself wholeheartedly into your career, seeking a firm who appreciates the need for flexibility will allow you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Financial reward

A recent survey reported that financial bonuses ranked third on the most desirable perks within the legal industry, appealing to 16 per cent of legal professionals. In a bid to attract top talent, competitive firms are using financial rewards as a means to increase employee engagement and incentivise high performers to join the team. When an employer makes a clear connection between pay and performance, it’s hard not to feel an elevation in your productivity.

While some firms will have generous bonus structures in place tied to the personal performance of newly-qualified lawyers, others will reward their employees based on the entire department’s ability to hit and exceed billing targets. On the other hand, some firms will avoid additional incentives altogether, preferring to negotiate a fair-market salary annually with their employees and associates. With financial benefits differing dependent on the firm, your priority should be to secure a role in which the remuneration reflects your expectations, level of experience and the effort required from you to achieve the objectives of the firm.

Soft benefits

In a recent report from Unsted, 93 per cent of law students cited that ‘managing a healthy lifestyle’ was one of the most important factors when considering their future careers. While flexi-time and agile working plays a key role in this, law firms are increasingly proposing perks that promote employee well-being, viewing lifestyle perks as a worthy investment in their workforce.

When you’re feeling healthy, your performance naturally improves – as does your resilience to the often-demanding nature of life in the legal industry. From gym memberships, mindfulness sessions and on-premise counselling to private health insurance, most firms are finding ways to provide physical, social, mental and emotional support for their staff. As a budding lawyer on the lookout for the next step in their career, choosing a firm that cares for more than the output alone will not only add to your job satisfaction but enhance your ability to excel in the role.