Skip to main content

Last week we discussed how the recession is only the 3rd top concern of law firm leaders. The recession is getting low billing as the associates’ biggest source of insomnia as well.

In a combined telephone/online survey — we analyzed more than 1,000 responses from associates. The question we posed: “What keeps you up at night?” The recession ranks a distant 6th — limited mostly to associates working in corporate. With few concerns about the recession — the top causes of associate insomnia are:

1. Deadlines

They are everywhere and unavoidable. Deadlines are part of the fabric of legal practice and are the top issue keeping 23.4% of associates up at night. Associates point to simultaneous, manufactured, and moving deadlines — all of which serve as a source of insomnia.

2. Career Growth

It could be a partnership or lateral move — but 19.6% of associates lose sleep over their career trajectory. These associates see the path to partnership getting longer and slower — and want growth. They are looking ahead in their careers and express concern over making sure it goes right for them — and they want to feel like they have control.

3. Doing a Great Job

At 17.2%, rivaling career growth, these associates see nothing but high expectations and want to meet them. Their work reflects themselves — and a ticket to advancement. They also see a range of expectations across the partners for whom they work — and worry about how to do an excellent job for all.

4. Billable Hours

It is in their faces. It drives bonuses. And the cost of failure is high. It keeps 14% of associates up at night as they may not see exactly where the billable hours will come from.

5. Work/Life Balance

With a tilt more towards work than life — 11.3% of associates are looking for a better balance.

6. Economy/Recession

Only 4.7% of law firm associates are losing sleep over the economy. Most are busy and see the demand for their talent — and remain confident they will land on their feet.

While a concern — virtually no associates are losing sleep over remote work or return-to-office initiatives. They feel like they can manage this issue and find a solution suiting their preferences. It may or may not be at their current firm.

Sound sleep is a key ingredient to wellness. Law firms can improve wellbeing, retention, and productivity by sharing more about deadlines and expectations as matters unfold. Laying out a career path also helps associates sleep better at night.

Conducting a formal firmwide associate survey also helps insomnia by offering associates a clear voice — and will deliver insights you won’t get anywhere else. Please reach out to me if you want to discuss.

Best in the talent retention market ahead –

The Mad Clientist

Forwarded to you? Get your own copy every week! Subscribe below. 

Stay ahead of the market with BTI's latest research