Burnout among corporate lawyers is a problem that affects retention and projects, according to survey findings.
Twenty percent of surveyed corporate lawyers were highly exhausted and 34% were moderately exhausted, according to findings released by the legal and compliance practice of consulting firm Gartner. The firm surveyed 202 corporate lawyers in July and released the results on Oct. 7.
Among the highly exhausted group, 41% showed signs of psychological distress; 68% were looking to leave their organization; and 61% frequently delayed, scoped down or killed projects in which they were involved.
Signs of psychological distress were shown by only 3% of not exhausted lawyers and 28% of moderately exhausted lawyers. A desire to leave the job was expressed by only 17% of not exhausted lawyers and 18% of moderately exhausted lawyers. And taking action to delay, scope down or delay projects was reported by only 9% of not exhausted lawyers and 34% of moderately exhausted lawyers.
The study found that high engagement is key, according to comments in the press release by James Crocker, senior principal for research in Gartner’s legal and compliance practice. “Highly engaged lawyers are dramatically less likely to be exhausted than even moderately engaged lawyers, and just 4% of lawyers were both highly exhausted and highly engaged,” Crocker said.
Compared to moderately engaged lawyers, highly engaged lawyers were 70% more likely to explore novel ways to help business partners meet objectives, and 143% more likely to show discretionary effort. They were 17% less likely to be actively looking for work.
The factors that had the biggest impact on engagement were personally fulfilling work and total rewards.