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Talk of the bay

Survey shows lawyers still do their homework

Published February 7, 2005

If you're a lawyer, a national survey this month by a legal staffing agency provides the shock of the century: You're busy. Very busy. Too busy. So busy that you're taking work home with you.

A survey of 200 lawyers around the nation by an independent research firm for California-based Robert Half Legal found that most take work home. The average lawyer takes work out of the office twice a week.

"Big surprise," said Clearwater plaintiff's attorney Jodi Leisure, somewhat tongue in cheek.

What is surprising to Leisure is that lawyers who were polled took work home just two days a week. Leisure said she finds herself bringing a lot more home, an especially difficult task with three children, agres 3, 6 and 11.

"They understand homework," she said. "I take my briefcase home every night."

Work demands of the average law firm require lawyers to work billable hours and keep long hours at the office. Working at home is often required to keep up with case load demands, says Robert Half Legal.

"Attorney work hours are changing, though," Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal, said in a press release. "Organizations striving to retain top talent are implementing practices that help lawyers find greater work-life balance."

Michael Trentalange, a lawyer in Tampa, said he is distrustful of surveys, especially since he thinks lawyers might tend to exaggerate the number of hours they work.

"They should ask not just whether we bring work home, but whether we actually do it," Trentalange said. "I bring work home all the time. The briefcase goes home. But it doesn't get opened."

[Last modified February 4, 2005, 19:27:02]

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