Balancing wellbeing and actually doing some ******* work

10-20 years ago there was definitely a terrible culture, where working long hours and giving up holidays and weekends and ignoring mental health issues caused real problems

but tbh I do wonder whether the junior end of the legal professions has rather swung to the other extreme

finding anyone ready and willing to do any work is so hard

I aim never to do any work again if at all possible tbh. Doubt it will be, but it’s the end of the scale from which I start calibration.

yes but laz you have toiled and proven yourself, achieved success and can now bask in a life of ease and comfortable prosperity

you deserve it

some of these young schmucks are just a bit lazy


duckster, it's all very well for stolid, established landed gentry like you

some of us need to earn money 

"Lazy" = working smart, not working hard.

Get with the programme, grandad. 

I'd thought that moving to an "eat what you kill" way of life would give me the kick up the arse to work harder.  Turns out I was wrong.

some of us need to earn money 

Off the efforts of some young schmuck?

Heffalump09 Sep 21 09:39

some of these young schmucks are just a bit lazy


translation; why does nobody just do the outdated nonsense my supervisor beat into me these days? 

what the hell is an App?

are those my feet?

dear google, please tell me if those are my feet, thank you, regards heff

The OP is clearly one of those khunts who expect you to bill 8 hours a day but also focus on your wellbeing by taking up your lunch hour with a wellbeing seminar AICM 1-2-1 Zoom call with a counsellor to discuss how to unwind, pencilled in for 10.30pm on Friday.

I can’t imagine Madders is going to take kindly to his crown as ROF’s foremost slave driver being usurped like this. 

The more mental health is highlighted and addressed, the more people seem to have more issues. Could be the uncovering of a previously hidden problem but could be people have alighted on an easy and non-challengeable way of shirking and excusing their failures and personality issues. 

I have this very issue with my juniors.


They often just say oh I have too much on or I am on holiday from cob today so won't have time to do X or Y. Even if the work only involves another 20 or 30 minutes and they are not going anywhere.

I basically have to do it all myself at times. In my day, your role as a junior was to help the seniors. HR have told me my role is to support the juniors and make sure  their needs are met. Quite who supports my needs or cares about them is unclear. On a management course the other day, I was told "that's the direction of travel".

Let's hope my plan of being out of corporate life in 5 years works out

on top of which, the abject cheek of any glorified professional hat stand complaining about other people doing hard work

you're whole closed shop union of dracula cosplayers basically spends 3 hours sitting by the fire reading before summoning your client to a 2 person meeting regally dubbed a conference to be told once again that it's a tricky one and better go 50/50 on an arbitration

looking forward to this christmas' "Wah Wah Wah my life is nothing like a BBC docu drama Wah Wah take pity on us poor wig jockies playing at work while our landed gentry spouse supports us" book

as if the guardian didn't have enough faux causes to bleed on about

All our juniors work much hard than anyone before them ever has, and none of them ever complain - they seem to enjoy it perversely.

I admire it and loathe it in equal measure

reality is that a large number of our generation were totally burnt out by 35 - most people have figured out how to manage it within the context of a functioning career, but it’s actually not a healthy trajectory 

If the culture of the profession is changing driven by the junior end who are not prepared to put up with the shyte we did that is a good thing imo.

It only works if the culture and ambition of your clients is changing too, otherwise someone needs to pick  up the slack 

It’s socially regressive. Those who can afford to work less, do. Those who have some money behind them etc etc. Much harder for people starting out now but far more chances to avoid work if they want to. Make the most of it though, the next couple of years will be brutal. 

What sumo said, and fair play to the kids, I’ve been hearing this from ageing (or in some cases not that ageing) partners for a few years now, basically moaning that kids now don’t put up with the shite we were expected to. 

And no matter how much you rail against it, one day they will be in charge, putting you lot out to pasture, whilst wearing trainers and a t shirt. 

They won’t be in charge. They’ll be PE owned. Pasture will be administered by a bot with an avatar from 90s tv to make people feel better. 

Partners have always moaned that kids now don’t put up with what  they were  expected to. It's part of their job to moan about that.

I have no problem getting juniors to do work but then I'm not an aunt.

The doctor profession is certainly like this. A lot of the people who trained me when I first started  were quite sociopathic and had unhealthy coping strategies (the people who trained them in the 60s/70s were worse by all accounts but I don’t have experience). Most of them have retired now and the seniors are generally ok. 

However, the newer intakes appear to lack resilience, be overly emotional, don’t want to crack on with the job, and all round appear too fragile and snowflake. I think this explains the endless media parades and whines. 

sails but you have already repeatedly said that in your firm people work no more than a usual working day and bill considerably less than that so you are not exactly asking them to pull all nighters I am guessing, just doing their job in working hours, if they refuse to do that they should presumably be sacked.

I get the feeling people are just exhausted and fed up and turning your home into your office for a lot of people hasn’t worked brilliantly. 

I don’t put the hours in that I used too, but I am also more efficient. It’s taken 20 years to be this good and this quick. Why should I do more tasks because my output is better and faster? No. I’m over target, that’s enough.

Junior sales - htf this is working I’ve no idea. They are looking at binning new business as a dept in one firm I know of 

since partnership prospects are almost non-existence and being a partner looks pretty rubbish, why would you flog yourself any harder than you have to?



I fully support anyone getting away with doing the least amount of work they possibly can for the most possible wedge.  The whole system is stacked anyway, and it's all just a game.

There's three issues here:

- it's incredibly hard to get there in the first place, so those entering the profession feel they are not lucky to be there and have to prove themselves again. 

- pulling up the equity draw bridge means there's no deferred consideration for busting a gut now. Partnership was probably a matter of time for maybe 20% plus of an intake. Now I think you'd be lucky if 5% of a trainee intake become partners in a firm.  

- the snobbiness about moving is gone, so you just need to get enough on your CV to move on to a pay rise rather than sit there competing against the backstabbing lickarses.


I suspect the old have always complained about the "youth of today" even back in the 1500s. However try to avoid hiring weak people - see if you can see who cries and is likely to be off work a lot before hiring them within the limits of the law. On the other and being strong in my view is also being able to say when you cannot do more work because you need to get some sleep. It has never been an easy balance.

What cuy.cuy said. Apparently we have to help them with their career development ffs. No one ever did shit for me. At best it was total indifference and at worst it was a lot worse.

"No one ever did that shit for me."

Nor me.  But do we perpetuate shit management, or try to do a better job than our bosses did?

Why wouldn't you try to be a better supervisor than yours were, in the same way you probably try to be a better parent than yours were?

Or do we want the coastal shelf of inhumanity to just keep deepening?

Well I always adhere to DBAC which is more than can be said for many of my predecessors but at some point it just becomes spoon feeding.

The under 40s in our team have been complaining that they are being made to work "early", i.e. before 10am.

That is early if you got to bed at 4 am and you're working every weekend.

Re developing young peoples careers, this should be a no brainer but sadly too many lawyers still see their juniors as insolent competition rather than as potential to feather everyone's nests.

I knew a partner at a big firm who was actually a very good rainmaker but refused to show any of his juniors how he did it because he was worried they would steal his clients. That was really dumb because quite a few of them learnt how to do it and made partner elsewhere and now have their own books.

As an equity partner he would have been sharing their spoils getting even more money, but all of it has walked out of the door. 

I don't find the 'yoof' (or at least most of them) workshy.  They will incredibly hard if they buy into why they are doing it. You just have to feed them the right cool aid is it were.

What they are though is seemingly remarkably fragile. 

Re the  OP is the original complaint about the anachronistic nature of the terms on which barristers work, or is about instructing solicitors?

Why wouldn't you try to be a better supervisor than yours were, in the same way you probably try to be a better parent than yours were?

This is exactly my philosophy, at work and in family life.  I try (and I mean try, not always succeed) to avoid perpetuating the sh1t I was dealt.

Or do we want the coastal shelf of inhumanity to just keep deepening

great comment.

I have sympathy with both sides expressed on this thread, and it's about a balance. 

My supervisors were universally pretty sh1t towards me and my career development, but I have never been so to anyone junior to me and have genuinely tried to teach and support them. 

On the other hand, some people expect to be spoon-fed far too much and show a poor attitude to tasks they might not be thrilled by (it comes with the territory so get on with it, eh) and they should not be indulged imo.  

Agree with both the last two posts. Properly coached juniors make the whole team look better.

They fvck you up

Your supervisors

They mean to and they do

Guy it comes and goes.  Courtesy of one R Sunak I've had a stupid a year where I twiddle my thumbs for six week or so then do three months work in six week then twiddle my thumbs a bit and so on and so forth.  Currently back in the bit of the cycle with the last few people who want to take advantage of the remaining small SDLT saving so this will be another bumper month.  From time to time we do get something big that requires a bit of effort and asking people to be honest about whether they've got capacity to help out generally means that you find someone who's willing to help because they haven't just had a sh*t sandwich dumped on their desk with on consultation.

As for billing I generally bill about two and half days for every working day.

Equity partnership is no longer the carrot it once was. Nobody is going to slug it out for ten years for a fixed-share deal when tax is factored in.

That's why you see the attrition rates you do. Had I not left for a no-tax jurisdiction I would've left law as the chances of getting made up at my (MC) firm were non-existent, even in corporate. 

Given the recent salary wars there seems to be a gradual realisation dawning on most of the decent city firms that young associates just won't bother otherwise. If moving abroad wasn't so hostile to raising a family you'd probably be seeing an exodus to low-tax jurisdictions. 

They fook you up, your partner and managing associate.   

    They may not mean to (sometimes), but they do.   

They fist you with the shit they had

    And add some extra kicks, just for you.


But they were fooked up in their turn

    By partners in old-style hats and coats,   

Who half the time were on the golf course and on the p1ss

    And half at one another’s throats.


Equity partnerships hand misery onto man (and some women now).

    It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

    And don’t be a khunt yourself.

That is early if you got to bed at 4 am and you're working every weekend. 

They aren't.

'Why would people work if they can afford not to?'

- sense of purpose

- satisfaction at achievements, poss inc helping others/making a difference to an issue they care about

- could go on


The question sadly betrays a total lack of belief in any of these sorts of options, merely seeing work as a means to the end of (I presume) income. This is a searing waste of intelligence and training. Life is far too short for that sort of caper.

Orwell, in that case you should remind them what their working hours are and put them on a performance review if they don't turn up on time on Monday.

I didn't say they weren't turning up. They are just whinging.

I don't disagree with your high level point Medley  but being a city lawyer is also a searing waste of intelligence and training.

Luckily very few city lawyers are actually really very intelligent.

I must be a sucker because I’m of this generation and I work really hard. I’ve not had a single sick day since I qualified (over 6 years ago). I’m ridiculously reliable, yet I’m being overlooked by MC and US firms because I didn’t train somewhere they consider prestigious. Meanwhile they probably employ a ton of snowflake trainees / NQs and pay them more than I’m paid.

DDS has it.  Associates work hard (and far harder than I ever did) but are remarkably brittle and unable accept anything other than praise and an assumption that their work is outstanding.

In my, no doubt Neanderthal, view, many of the claims of bullying are little more than “do your job properly” without a varnish of “you are very perfect, do your job properly”.

Work still needs to be done. Clients still need stuff.

Sometimes it's tough in law.

Plenty of other options if you don't fancy it.

The difficulty is balancing those who don't want to work with those who actually care about clients etc, who inevitably take more of the burden on. Who is looking after them? Are juniors thinking, when they turn down work, my mate is going to have to do this at 2am because I cba? What about their mental health?

Can we lay off the Neanderthals please?  Total misconception that they were dumb and savage. 

Given the recent salary wars there seems to be a gradual realisation dawning on most of the decent city firms that young associates just won't bother otherwise. If moving abroad wasn't so hostile to raising a family you'd probably be seeing an exodus to low-tax jurisdictions. 

This.  I had one foot in HK before it all kicked off and am now (I think) on the verge of a move to a Money Law firm.  If I were single I would have gone notwithstanding all the argy bargy.

May as well go and not make partner at a place that will pay me twice as much when you include bonuses and the same old shit.  My hours are atrocious anyway.

The MC and other comparable British firms are no longer meeting their side of the bargain. 

The no. 1 issue in all of this is crap supervisors and a massive transition of law firms to bastions of self-interest. There's also the fact that the supervisors of today perpetuate the "always on" culture so trainees are expected to watch their phones, login remotely etc. as much as the people that are inefficiently managing a team. 

I seriously doubt more than a handful of supervisors sit down and teach trainees anything, expecting training/knowledge and PLC to take care of the whole thing. Departments and firms no longer operate as teams as each senior member is being judged by their own numbers and acts accordingly. Rather than being able to disappear out the door and have a life, they now have one virtual foot constantly in the office and come to resent their colleagues for it. I doubt many firms even bother to have someone inspirational speak to trainees about what they love about where they work and what they do. 


BM its been like that for a decade at least. British firms struggle with modernising their reward structures away from lockstep, veer towards more eat what you kill, set up killing fields for laterals and generally still spend too much on crap PAs and poor IT, to say nothing of “marketing”. Whilst their end product gets worse and worse and they fail to spot the existential threats to their gravy train. These fvckers deserve everything they get in the coming zombie law apocalypse.

“Anyone read "The Medicalization of Everyday Life"

No. I’d rather have my everyday life medicalised than waste it reading about its medicalisation. Sounds dull as shit.

Sumo's 09.54 is winning various awards for me including:

- best post ever on rof re barristers

- best post ever on rof by Sumo

”They often just say oh I have too much on or I am on holiday from cob today so won't have time to do X or Y. Even if the work only involves another 20 or 30 minutes and they are not going anywhere.“

Thing is though:

(1) if it only involves another half an hour, how hard is it for you just to do it yourself;

(2) you’re probably not the only person asking to give them work. If 4 people in the team ask for another half an hour, it suddenly becomes at least another 2 hours of solid work.

(3) how do you know they’re not already going to have to work late or over the weekend?

Where I work, there is a huge issue around holidays. People don’t feel that they can take them, trying to actually finish things off is a nightmare to the extent a lot of people say they’ll do it on holiday etc. I think part of the problem is that people are afraid to say no. 

And when I was trying to find juniors to work on things because I wanted a holiday with some measure of peace I got a lot of pushback just because they thought they could. But they always got  their own holidays. So, nil sympathy here.

Issue for management to sort out - ultimately you’re entitled to a holiday, so if you can’t find a home for something, the team leader will need to allocate it. But clients’ expectations need to be managed too. There are ultimately a certain number of hours in the day and sometimes, no, we can’t meet that last minute unilaterally-imposed deadline. It’s a resourcing issue. If you run at a higher and higher utilisation rate there is less & less slack. Partners could take a bit less profit & hire a few more hands to carry / share the load.

It basically comes down to self interest.

Why would associates work harder than they have to? Nobody is moving them on, their salaries are ridiculous (and increasing) and if they wanted to do more hours they would go to the US firms.

Why would senior associates take more on? Particularly if their partnership prospects are basically nil.

Why would partners take more on? They have done their stint and it's not their job to smash hours anymore.

So all the additional work falls on very few people who think working harder is going to get them more money, quicker promotions etc.

End of the day, everyone in the team needs to pull their weight more instead of looking after themselves.

Holidays are becoming a problem inhouse too. If you are in a transactional area, it's becoming expected that there is one for one like for like coverage, which just isn't possible without desks of lawyers doing nothing waiting for people to go on holiday so they can step in. So you get caned every time someone goes away.

Add in a dismal failure for pay to even begin to keep up with inflation and the only saving grace is my pension is earning more than I am.

This is all utter bollocks, juniors don't work any less than they used to and you didn't work anywhere near as hard as you imagine you did now. 

Yes pancakes. If only there was a record of how many hours everyone has done. Ever.