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  • Industry

    What Makes Lawyers Happy? It’s Not What You Think

    By Paula Davis-Laack Happy lawyer – sounds like an oxymoron, right? Having practiced law for seven years, I can’t think of many of my colleagues who I would classify as happy, or even mildly enthusiastic. More troubling, when I ask my lawyer audiences how many would pick this profession if they had to do it all over again, very few hands go up. The law is a well-regarded profession (despite all of the lawyer jokes you hear) that affords most in it a very comfortable income, prestige and respect – something is missing. I recently spoke at a conference on lawyer well-being and was thrilled to co-present with one of my favorite law professors, Larry Krieger. Krieger, together with social scientist Ken Sheldon, authored a groundbreaking study examining lawyer satisfaction. They discovered that the things that lawyers think will make them happy long-term in the profession (e.g., money, prestige, making partner, status) are exactly the opposite of what actually does lead to well-being in the law, and scientifically, have little to no correlation with happiness. Rather, it’s these three pathways that most strongly correlate with long-term well-being:…

  • Industry

    Taking Legal Practice into the 21st Century

    ~ by Stephen Wingate-Pearse I recently came across a body of research, commissioned by the South African Law Society, and conducted by Lexis Nexis, the results of which I found fascinating.  Whilst the research was done in 2016, it is my considered opinion that the outcomes are that much more relevant in the current lexicon.   The research established a genuinely reflective “picture” in terms of inter aliageographical, race, earnings and gender demographics for the profession.  In brief, most lawyers operate within small firms or sole practitioners – the vast majority(72%) of the 12 373 law firms in South Africa are made up of organisations that employ one to ten staff including professionals and support staff.  Of the 72%, 47% is made up of sole practitioners!  Coupled with the information that the majority of lawyers bill less than R1 000 per hour, – this is a startling finding indeed!It appears that most lawyers are putting in a great deal of work, with non-concomitant rewards.   Additionally, it appears that the industry has thoroughly embraced technology to further their growth trajectories.  This is illustrated by 37% of respondents, indicating that either a director or equity partner conducts their own research with…

  • Industry

    Sharing Office Space: A Smart Choice for aspiring specialist legal practitioners

    It’s tough practising law as an independent practitioner. The considerable outlay involved in setting up, and the overheads and time involved in managing a practice, fall squarely on your shoulders.