It’s Time to Reimagine Your Legal Career
By Axiom Law
How, when, where, and what we expect from work is rapidly evolving. Even in more “traditional” industries like law, what employees expect from their employer, how they choose to work, and who they choose to work for are transforming. Flexibility of working locations and hours, support of diversity and inclusion, and embracing work that engages with a higher purpose are major factors that are reshaping workplaces, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. While the millennial generation is often cited as driving these changes, and millennials now make up 50% of the workforce (and will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025), these developments not only benefit, but are being demanded by, workers across generations and industries.
As you your plan your law career, assess what is important to you and think about how you can embrace flexibility, inclusion, and purpose to help drive your work.
Flexibility is the new normal
According to the 2019 Millennial Attorney Survey, work-life balance is the top priority for millennial lawyers, and nearly 75% would trade a portion of their compensation for either more time off, a flexible work schedule, or a cut in billable hours.
Flexibility and remote work don’t just benefit millennials – a more flexible workplace benefits everyone, including those who have care giving responsibilities for children or elderly relatives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57% of wage and salary workers already have a flexible schedule, and 29% of wage and salary workers are able to work at home. However, some workplaces still have a long way to go, as 96% of workers need some form of flexibility, and only 19% have access to a full range of flexible options, the startup Werk reported.
As you consider the next steps for your career, think about the kind of flexibility you need and use our free work preferences checklist to record and reflect on what's important to you. Which of these options will serve you – and your needs and obligations – the best?
- Remote work, a combination of remote and onsite work, or onsite work
- How many hours do you want to work?
- How long of a commute do you want?
At Axiom, flexibility has been part of our employment model for our lawyer from the beginning. We recognize that everyone has their own needs and preferences when it comes to work. On our bespoke platform for legal talent, Axiom for Talent, we enable lawyers to set their working preferences so they can take control of their career and more easily find engagements that fit for their needs.
Diversity and inclusion are workplace imperatives
Across industries, policies that support diversity and inclusion are becoming business imperatives, as well as key factors when it comes to hiring and retaining employees. Prospective employees frequently ask about a company’s diversity initiatives, policies, and employee affinity groups. However, despite increased emphasis on diversity, the legal industry remains one of the least diverse professions, especially at the more senior level.
The American Bar Association reports that 15% of lawyers in the United States, across the profession as a whole, identify as racial and ethnic minorities, and 36% identify as women. Those numbers are fairly consistent with law firm diversity: As per NALP, 16% of lawyers in US law firms identify as racial and ethnic minorities, and 35% identify as women. At Axiom, diversity is at the core of our business, and our bench of US-based lawyers is far more diverse than industry standards. 31% of our US-based lawyers identify as racial and ethnic minorities; 53% of Axiom lawyers identify as women, and of those, 31% identify as minority women. In 2018, 55% of new hires were women, and 32% racial and ethical minorities – statistics well above industry standards.
Flexible workplace policies, such as flex time and the ability to work remotely, can contribute to the recruitment and retention of employees from diverse backgrounds. Axiom’s commitment to enabling lawyers to find harmony between their life and legal practice, and our commitment to diversity and inclusion, have enabled us to recruit and retain a talented, diverse bench of legal professionals, and earned us a “Best Place to Work” for LGBTQ equality, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. To further support diversity inclusion within our company and the legal industry as a whole, Axiom has recently signed on to Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition, which certifies that legal departments consider at least 50% diverse candidates for leadership roles and outside counsel representation.
When considering a new employer, ask about their policies and procedures, as well as if they participate in specific industry benchmarking surveys such as the Mansfield Rule or the HRC Corporate Equality Index.
Engagement with a greater purpose
According to the Gallup survey How Millennials Want to Work and Live, work is no longer just about receiving a paycheck, but about engaging a higher purpose. Employees now expect to work for purposeful, mission-driven organizations and develop as people and professionals while they do so. This could run the gamut from receiving paid days off specifically for volunteering, being able to integrate work with values and purpose, and seeking professional development and growth from bosses, mentors, and peers.
At Axiom, lawyers can access professional development – including executive business training, CLE certifications, and coaching – as well as participate in regular networking and community-building events. We have also developed a strategic partnership with Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice and legal support for the disadvantaged. This is the first partnership Pro Bono Net has undertaken with a non-law firm, and it enables Axiom lawyers to leverage their expertise to ensure everyone receives equal justice under the law and take on pro bono work when they are on the beach or have extra capacity.
As the working world becomes more flexible and purpose-driven, and employees are offered greater choice about how, where, and when they want to work, it’s important to understand what is important to you so that you can find a job, or jobs, that fits. To help you define your own working preferences, we’ve created an “Understanding your work preferences checklist.”
Download our free checklist to assess, reflect on, and record your work preferences. To learn more about working for Axiom and taking control of your career, while contributing your expertise to the world’s best companies, get in touch.
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Karl Kong, SVP of Product at Axiom, shares insights about the evolution of the legal industry during Legalweek 2020