Being a Parent and a Legal Professional is Possible These Days

Even though we are now in 2019 and quickly approaching 2020!!, balancing childcare and a full-time job is still a struggle for a parent. 

More and more professions have begun offering flexible working hours to allow their employees to maintain a better work-life balance. There are still those who are dragging their heels when it comes to modernizing their structure and employee approach. 

Legal firms are one of the primary culprits.

Shared parental leave was introduced in 2015. Yet, still, women are treated with the expectation that they will be the primary caregiver to a child, without being offered the right amount of support for returning to work. 

More than four-fifths of pregnant women begin maternity leave feeling unhappy and doubtful about returning to work.  These feelings of isolation are only exacerbated when they return.  Over a third reporting that the working environment makes them want to hand in their notice. 90% of women said that no returner support was offered.  Over half the women in the study had concerns regarding requests for flexible working being rejected.

Undervalued because of preconceptions 

Many companies undervalue the skills that new parents return to the workforce with – and not simply the ability to function without any sleep! You will have developed further skills in multi-tasking, communication, and time management. 

You will have increased efficiency and the ability to communicate with a wider range of people at different levels. However, this is often overlooked as those returning post-maternity leave are often seeking flexible working and are therefore not available for clients on a 24/7 basis. 

The combination of these factors can make returning to work off-putting for new parents. Especially women, who may feel as if they are passed over for promotion and training.  Also, development opportunities for their male colleagues receive in a culture that still underrates the valuable contribution parents make to the workforce.

Does this sound all too familiar

Have you have encountered similar difficulties returning to the workplace, or have worries that you may do, it may be worth considering working as a self-employed solicitor

There are companies available which allow you to enjoy the benefits of a freelance schedule and the flexibility which goes alongside it. One of the downsides of self-employment, particularly as an individual, is fulfilling all roles within a company. There are law firms with agile working available which allow you all the advantages of an in-house law firm, such as admin, secretarial, paralegals, and IT resources.

Is Working in Legal and maintaining a family possible

Law is renowned as a profession in which people struggle to maintain a work-life balance; it may not be that you have childcare responsibilities, but if you are seeking more flexible working hours. 

While you do not want your job to consume every waking hour, it may be integral that you continue to pursue as a career you are passionate about and have spent years training for. If this is the case, then self-employment is worth serious consideration.

The benefits of self-employment are numerous. 

The hours are your responsibility.  Running a home and supporting a family can be your primary focus, while you continue to maintain your career. Although there is the possibility of lengthier, atypical hours, freedom, and flexibility can facilitate spending time with your family and being there for those important moments.

No commute

Self-employment rates are rising; frequently, more people are seeking the freedom of being accountable for themselves. There are also significant other advantages. Not only will you skip the stress of the commute, but you will also save money and time by working from home. 

No childcare costs

You can elect to clock your working hours as if you were working in an office.  Therefore starting at what would usually be your commuting time would elicit an early finish. This could help you facilitate picking up or dropping off your children at school.  This would, therefore, negate childcare costs while you are also maintaining a sense of self through your profession.

Alternate office space

You may find it difficult to stay focused when working from home.  It is worth researching options if you would prefer to work in a local office. Firms which are embracing agile working often have a network of offices. 

There may be a space local to you where you can use the facilities and a desk when you require it. Alternatively, there are often office spaces for hire, either privately or shared. This may prove a more convenient option. Particularly if you live somewhere, you can easily walk or cycle to your office. Although perhaps not the most cost-effective, this option has the potential to separate your work and home life even further, and still keep a sense of balance.

Stress and mental health problems are rising.  These are often attributed to poor work-life balance, and individuals having high anxiety levels. If you are struggling to manage your workload, or are simply looking for a fresh start, self-employment may provide the perfect opportunity for you.