Work-life balance is having a major impact on traditional law – what are the alternatives?

June 4, 2024

Four years ago, the world shut-down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time everyone had to adapt to their new way of life, both professionally and personally.

With remote work came a realisation form many that they wanted to live their life to the fullest, spending less time commuting and more time with their families and loved ones.

When restrictions were lifted, and workers started to return to the office, the available time to attend your child’s school events, or celebrate a milestone, once again faded away.

The world of law was no exception. It’s well known that the industry can be taxing; Partners at traditional law firms often must work long hours with little flexibility

A recent study by LexisNexis shows that only 11% of Senior Law Leaders had their salaries increase over the rate of inflation, highlighting that long days don’t always correlate into high pay.

However, salary is still an important determiner when looking for a role, with 69% of Associates saying it’s something they look for. It isn’t, however, always the most important anymore.

71% of Associates place work-life balance in their top three priorities in their search for a new role. This explains why many aren’t looking to take that next step to Partner, with only 25% of Associates saying they want to be Partner at their current firm in the next five years.

The report clearly displays that whilst the ambition to become Partner is still there, the lifestyle, lack of flexibility and poor remuneration are stopping Associates from taking that leap.

At gunnercooke, we take a different approach. We give full control over to our lawyers, who can design, set up, and scale up the practice they’ve always wanted.

Being self-employed, they can work as much as they want to around their personal lives, with our expert support team, gcTrust, on hand to support with finance, IT, business development, compliance, practice growth, and marketing.

Additionally, our fee share model means that our Partners and Associates can expect a fixed rate to access the support they need and keep the rest.

Many of our lawyers recognise this progressive approach and appreciate the ‘work your way’ method we employ. We recently spoke to our Partners and Associates about why they made the jump to gunnercooke.

Rita Sheth, Dispute and Resolution Partner, added:

“I became a Partner at gunnercooke. opposed to a traditional firm, as I wanted to concentrate on building a practice in an areas or areas I genuinely enjoy, and I now have the agency and freedom to do that. Rather than having to take on clients from more senior Partners and being occupied with targets and practice management responsibilities, I can concentrate on the core of what I enjoy.

“I have always been an entrepreneurial person and so an entrepreneurial model like gunnercooke appealed to me. Also, I like the idea that gunnercooke facilitates you to become a businessperson as well as a lawyer and allows you to have a portfolio career where you can pursue other interests. In my case I am a tech entrepreneur and find both side of my professional life provide me with a perfect mix of satisfying work.”

Molly Siggs, Commercial Property Partner, shared:

“Joining gunnercooke was, without a doubt, the best career decision I’ve ever made. Was it a scary move? Yes, absolutely! But was it worth the leap of faith? Yes, absolutely!

“Becoming a consultant at gunnercooke has allowed me far more flexibility to meet my clients’ needs and my family’s needs… not only am I assisted by dedicated support staff, but I’m also surrounded by extremely experienced and talented lawyers with varying specialties, with whom I choose to collaborate.

“The gunnercooke model invites you to choose who you work with, who you work for, when you work and how you operate. For me, this flexibility means I can work around my family’s needs and achieve a work life balance that just couldn’t be accommodated in a traditional structure.”

Emma Peliza, Senior Associate, added: 

I joined gunnercooke as I didn’t feel that there was a highlighted route within the ‘traditional’ law firm model that allowed people to be top class solicitors, doing interesting work whilst also having a life outside of work. For me, the main driver for looking for alterative models was that I knew that I wanted a family and that spending time with that family would be a core value for me.

“Since joining gunnercooke, I have been able to carve a life and career that works for me. I still work for top class clients doing interesting and challenging work, but I have been able to retain my sense of self. The sense of community and support which you get from gunnercooke has really helped this – there is always someone there to support you whether that’s through great internal referrals or support on how to run a profitable business.”

Are you looking to really make your work your own?  You can contact us today and speak with our fantastic Recruitment team who can answer any questions you may have.

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