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UK legal services report: State of the workplace 2020

Download The Report: State of the UK Legal Sector Workplace 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s not controversial to say that, for people and businesses across the globe, 2020 has been a completely unprecedented year full of events no one could have forecasted. Nobody could have predicted that anything could possibly eclipse Brexit for the UK in 2020, but that’s exactly what has happened. 

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, law firms were bracing themselves for our exit from the EU, with larger firms taking steps to ensure they could still operate internationally. Now UK businesses are threatened by economic uncertainty on two fronts. 

The impact of COVID-19 on society the world over has fundamentally changed the way we live our lives. For those who were still able to work during lockdown, as well as people in essential roles, working life has been altered just as significantly. 

Law firms and chambers weren’t any better protected than other businesses. So like other industries, the UK legal sector workplace has been forced to adapt to huge societal changes in a very short space of time.

For example, firms and chambers had to become decentralised in response to social distancing requirements, which meant embracing remote work technology.  

The transition to remote work, along with the impact of lockdown, had a few unfortunate knock-on effects for the legal sector. Obviously clients weren’t able to have proper face-to-face meetings. But beyond that, the residential property market slowed down, courtroom availability was down 43% at the peak of lockdown, and there’s been a lot of general uncertainty around spending.

To track these changes and more importantly the impact of them on the working lives of legal professionals, we at Weekly10 teamed up with the clever folk over at Today’s Conveyance and Practical Vision Network for a study. 

Across September and October this year we have gathered over 2,500 survey responses from legal professionals in the UK working across all levels, from support staff to partners on a range of topics from working from home, life on furlough and predicting future working behaviours. 

With these survey responses we have been able to create a detailed report into the state of the UK legal sector workplace following the initial COVID lockdown period. This report is available for free and aims to help guide legal sector leaders, managers and staff through the coming months with a second, shorter lockdown imminent and large uncertainty moving forward. 

A few key findings included in the report include: 

·   81% of legal sector staff saw some amount of home-working during lockdown

.   47% of remote workers were more productive than when working from the office.

·   62% of employees are keen to work remotely half the week or more moving forward..

·   21% of staff surveyed were placed on furlough at some point in 2020. Support staff were the most heavily effected group here.

·   38% of furloughed workers no longer see their futures with their current firm. We look at potential reasons why in the full report.

·   70% of firms have seen an increase in work over the past two months.

To delve deeper into the reports findings and our commentary on what these might mean for the future of the UK legal services workplace, download a copy today

We’ll be releasing more articles over the next few weeks exploring different themes and findings from the report. Be sure to bookmark the Weekly10 blog and visit again soon for our latest articles.

The full 21-page report is available free and contains a range of insights, detailed commentary and predictions for the future.

Head of People Science