Study Reveals Conflicts in Attorneys' Personal Lives, Viable Solutions for Employers

Written by Michael Castellon

Date: Jan. 31, 2006
CONTACT: Michael Castellon,

LUBBOCK – Lack of time spent with their families and excessive work hours are driving qualified attorneys toward the exit door, according to a research report written by Texas Tech University School of Law professor Susan Saab Fortney. The research, funded by the National Association of Law Placement Foundation, studied managing and supervised attorneys practicing in law firms, government offices, and corporate legal departments.

Among the findings discussed in the report:

* About two-thirds of supervised firm attorneys agreed that they are forced to
sacrifice fulfillment outside of work in order to advance their careers.

* Nearly half of supervised firm attorneys and 41% of supervised corporate attorneys reported that they would be willing to make less money in order to work fewer hours.

* Despite obstacles, part-time attorneys as a group reported a higher level of job satisfaction than attorneys working on a full-time basis.

The research report, titled In Pursuit of Attorney Work-Life Balance: Best Practices in Management, details the findings from responses of more than 100 managing attorneys and almost 600 supervised attorneys.

Fortney, the George H. Mahon Professor of Law at Texas Tech, found that more than 70 percent of supervised attorneys report having moderate to major problems in handling personal health/fitness needs, household responsibilities, and partner and family needs. Almost half of all supervised attorneys reported feeling stressed and fatigued most of the time.

“To address these problems, the study identifies practical steps that employers can take to create work environments where attorneys can thrive and deliver quality legal service,” Fortney said. “Study findings also reveal that effective work-life initiatives positively impact attorney satisfaction and retention. The report identifies several economically feasible initiatives, including family-inclusive events and the use of flex-time.”


CONTACT: Susan Saab Fortney, George H. Mahon Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law, (806) 742-3990, ext. 233 or