Why are 78% of Lawyers Struggling to be Productive?


A recent poll of 220 global legal professionals revealed that almost 80% are struggling to be productive. To those outside the legal industry this statistic may make surprising reading, but for those who work in the sector, it is too true a reflection of their daily lives.

The stark and harsh reality is that the law profession is notoriously demanding with an intense pressure to ‘do’. During a recent webinar entitled, ‘The Legal Productivity Challenge’, we asked a panel of industry experts the question: ‘Why are so many legal professionals struggling?”

Sweating the inefficiency

Stephen Allen, Director of Service Delivery & Quality at DLA Piper summed it up: “The deals corporates are dealing with are getting bigger and bigger so due to the sheer scale...the volume of stuff is just more difficult.” He adds, “We are working and trying to sweat a relatively inefficient model, which was maybe operating at capacity five or 10 years ago.

Within such a constrained system, legal professionals have to ‘firefight’ their way through the day, working harder and longer to meet their targets and reduce the volume of work. There is no room to work smarter.

Former lawyer Owen Oliver highlights the intolerance to imperfection that typifies the legal industry, “There is a requirement for perfection. You have a duty of care to your clients, so everything has to be spot on.” 

Walking into a law firm, you won’t often hear someone say ‘don’t worry everyone makes mistakes’. It would be easy to gloss over errors made with such words but things can and do go very wrong when lawyers slip up - the consequences can often be substantial.

So alongside long hours, huge workloads, a creaking inefficient system, there is the umbrella of pressure to get everything right with no room for error. So, how will the sector respond to these legal productivity killers and is there light at the end of the tunnel?