In an ideal world, we will never need a barrister. But in the legal profession, they are an essential cog in the wheel for any incident that reaches the courts. Your first port of call in a legal matter is a solicitor but a barrister is in place to facilitate the issue with the courts.

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) believes that legal aid fees are not representative of the work done by those representing defendants, and demanded a 25% increase in pay. This sparked barrister strikes that began in September 2022 and were resolved in October with a 15% pay increase. But what about the wider legal industry? Let’s consider how law firms can better support legal staff and the lessons that can be learnt and applied across industry sectors.

Enhancing benefits

Thanks to the resolution of the barrister strikes, many may now feel that those in the legal profession are adequately compensated for their services. Full-time solicitors can expect an average salary of £62,000 but while important, money isn’t everything.

Further benefits can help keep lawyers and legal professionals in the industry, ensuring cases and serious matters are not delayed. Law firms should provide regular and ongoing training to their staff to help them evolve and add more strings to their bow — something that is mutually beneficial.

With many experienced legal professionals in the industry, a mentorship for younger solicitors and barristers can really help them develop an affinity for their industry. Further perks, such as regular lunches or breakfasts, are small tokens of appreciation that aren’t lost as everyone notices the pinch in tough economic times.

Investing in legal technology

Due to the sensitive nature of the information and data involved in a legal matter or case, it must be protected at all costs. There has been hesitancy from the legal industry to move towards modern working methods but the times are changing.

Cloud-based legal software and workflow management systems designed by experienced legal IT professionals are growing in popularity and are capable of streamlining the process greatly.

From accounting software to help maintain bookkeeping records and case payments, to case management software that puts all of the essential information in one central location. This is all facilitated by cloud-based software that helps staff across a law firm access their cases remotely.

Embracing modern working patterns

To follow on from adopting new technology, law firms can embrace modern working patterns to give their staff the support they need for a better work-life balance. Lawyer burnout is rampant in the industry, with 92% of lawyers experiencing stress or burnout at some point, and 25% experiencing it daily.

This puts law firms at serious risk of losing top talent and driving away young professionals from the industry before they get started. Being able to provide more flexible working hours and the ability to work remotely can help reduce this stress and improve morale among team members.

Improving collaboration

Collaboration is a hugely important factor in any team. When working on a case together, a law firm must have the right environment for maximum cohesion. Creating a workspace that promotes collaboration helps to improve a law firm’s culture and reduce feelings of isolation while helping everyone stay in the loop.

Designing a more cohesive workspace can incorporate technology to ensure remote workers can dial in without a hitch, while comfort is key for a relaxed atmosphere to help with creative thinking.

A breakout area helps lighten the mood when stress levels are reaching their peak and lets staff collectively recharge their batteries so they can refocus. Embracing modern office design such as hotdesking allows legal professionals to create impromptu clusters, collaborate and pull in the same direction.