17% of BigLaw lawyers and employees feel emotionally depleted by work, survey finds
Twenty-six percent of associates report poor leadership support for well-being, compared to 15% of partners, according to a survey of lawyers and employees at six large U.S. law firms. Image from Shutterstock.
BigLaw associates are at a higher risk of burnout than their colleagues, according to a survey of lawyers and employees at six large U.S. law firms.
One in five associates report feeling emotionally depleted by their work, and about one in four associates say they don’t have energy to focus on what’s important to them by the end of the workweek.
Twenty-six percent of associates report poor leadership support for well-being, compared to 15% of partners.
Overall, 17% of BigLaw lawyers and employees feel emotionally depleted by their work, according to the survey, The State of Wellbeing in Law, available here. And 17% said they often don’t have energy to pursue what’s important to them by the end of the workweek.
Mental health solutions provider Unmind conducted the survey of more than 3,800 lawyers and employees in six large firms, five of which are among the nation’s top 100 grossing firms. About 53% of the respondents were staff members, about 29% were associates and 18% were partners.
Other overall survey results include:
• 52% of the respondents have taken at least one day off because of mental health difficulties in the past three months.
• 26% of stressed employees reported that they were considering quitting to take care of their mental health.
• 35% though that their firm isn’t committed to supporting their mental health.
• 19% disagreed with the statement: “I trust the senior leaders in my firm to make decisions that are in the best interests of employee mental health and well-being.”
• 53% of respondents reporting low leadership support say their work has a negative impact on their mental health. Among those reporting high leadership support, only 4% say their work has a negative impact on mental health.
• 81% feel they can play to their strengths at work. Fulfillment is a strength for the legal sector.
Unmind estimates that loss from mental health performance issues is nearly 10% of annual staffing costs, which translates to an average loss of nearly $22 million per firm. The estimate is based on lost workdays, work time negatively affected by poor well-being and attrition.
“Despite growing interest and investment in well-being initiatives across the legal sector, mental health-related absence, attrition and burnout are on the rise,” said Nick Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Unmind, in the foreword to the study. “As our study shows, it’s coming at a staggering cost to firms.”