Financial wellbeing

After a brief hiatus during the pandemic, the competition for legal talent has started to heat up once again. Many law firms have simply opened their cheque-books, with newly qualified lawyers now commanding salaries of £100,000 or more. Others have taken a more nuanced approach, trying to offer lawyers a better quality of life in order to recruit and retain them.

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Published: 25 Nov 2022 Updated: 31 Jan 2023

The firms that have taken this second path are increasingly exploring ways to help employees be happier and more fulfilled. Offering agile working has been a popular approach, a shift from the traditionally long office-based lifestyle of a trainee lawyer. Law firms are seeking to pay greater attention to their employees’ mental health, but also accommodate lifestyle preferences – bike racks, on-site showers, lunchtime yoga.

This is undoubtedly welcome. However, it is worth noting that money remains the biggest cause of stress in the UK, even for young lawyers bringing home a decent pay packet every month. Lawyers worry about their student loans, how to afford a home, the rising cost of living and their financial future. 47% of adults do not feel confident making decisions about financial products and services, and the figure is even higher (55%) for pensions. For busy lawyers, with little time on their hands to focus on their personal finances, the problem may be more acute.

Helping lawyers achieve some level of financial stability could contribute significantly to their wellbeing. Removing sources of financial stress can ensure lawyers are more productive and better-focused. It stands to reason that this can also improve loyalty and retention. For law firms, it is a good way to show they care about their employees’ wellbeing and security.

This financial help needs to be targeted for different levels. At Evelyn Partners, our financial wellbeing programme is focused on two key areas: younger lawyers who may be a year or two into their career, and equity partners. At each stage, it takes into account specific financial concerns at different ages.

At the first tier, we look at the basics of managing money. We discuss repaying student loans, how they can start saving for their first home, and the importance of starting pension saving early. We aim to build confidence around financial decision-making, creating habits that will support their financial well-being through their lives.

With equity partners, there is more financial complexity. They have more wealth in their lives and will often have built up reasonable levels of savings. However, they may also have built up significant liabilities – mortgages, school fees and expensive hobbies. We look at good investment practice, managing risk and how they can meet their longer-term financial goals.

While cycling to work and flexible hours will make a difference to employee wellbeing, the impact that money can have on mental health shouldn’t be neglected. By helping your employees look after their finances responsibly, you are helping remove a potential source of stress. It should be an integral part of a law firm’s wellbeing strategy.

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Please note

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.