Association Of Corporate Counsel Global Report Examines Work-Life Balance In Corporate Legal Community

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 16:18

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global bar association representing more than 35,000 in-house counsel in over 85 countries, today released its first global report on the state of work-life balance among in-house lawyers, which underscored the worldwide movement toward creating a healthy equilibrium between professional ambitions and personal goals.

The 2014 ACC Global Work-Life Balance Report received insight from 2,004 corporate counsel in 41 countries, including Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, Asia Pacific region, Canada and Latin America. According to the report, work-life balance was a significant consideration when choosing an in-house position for 62 percent of in-house lawyers who are caregivers, compared to 45 percent not providing primary care for others.

“The perception of work-life balance plays a significant role in the career decisions of business executives across the globe, especially those working in the compliance and ethics, regulatory and employment and labor sectors,” said Veta T. Richardson, president and CEO of ACC. “In order to eradicate barriers between benefits offered and employees’ comfort using them, companies need to encourage participation and educate employees about the long-term benefits. This will also help attract and retain talent and ease turnover costs.”

Survey results demonstrated varying levels of happiness by law department size. In-house counsel working in large legal departments (200+ employees) expressed more favorable views toward the level of departmental support offered to caregivers, compared to those working in small to mid-size legal departments.

Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents are happy with their work-life balance in their current work setting. Globally, Canada and the United States rank work-life balance satisfaction more positively (62 percent and 59 percent respectively) than those in Latin America (47 percent), EMEA (44 percent) and Asia-Pacific (33 percent).

“Understanding employees’ work-life balance perceptions and needs is the first step to building strong diversity and inclusion programs,” said David R. Allgood, chair of the ACC board of directors and executive vice president & general counsel, Royal Bank of Canada. “At a time when caregiving is becoming an increasingly important role for many employees, the 2014 ACC Global Work-Life Balance Report offers a summary of still unfulfilled work-life balance needs and best practices so that corporations can better hone their programs.”

Additionally, technology (47 percent), compliance and ethics (44 percent), real estate (42 percent) and employment and labor (42 percent) are industries where in-house lawyers considered searching for another role in anticipation of parenting or caregiving responsibilities.

Other key findings in the report:

  • Seventy-nine percent of respondents who are caregivers were female, compared to 20 percent male. Forty-four percent of non-caregivers were female and 53 percent were male. Further, 70 percent of female caregivers believed being a caregiver had a “negative impact” on career advancement.
  • Telecommuting (91 percent), flexible work schedule (90 percent) and paid maternity or paternity leave (59 percent) were reported as the top three most helpful benefits for employees to manage work-life balance.
  • Approximately two-thirds of caregivers indicated that their role as a caregiver has had a somewhat or very negative impact on career advancement opportunities, while only 30 percent believe it has had no impact.
  • Fifty-nine percent of caregivers reported difficulty harmonizing between work and personal responsibilities, compared to 42 percent who are non-caregivers.

For more information on the 2014 ACC Global Work-Life Balance Report or to purchase a full copy of the survey, visit