The Great Resignation did not leave the legal industry unscathed. A 2022 report by Future Ready Lawyer from Wolters Kluwer found that 86% of law firms were impacted and 70% of in-house attorneys plan to leave within one year. [1] Attorney burnout is a common syndrome of poor time and stress management. However, it can be prevented and managed if action is taken.  

Here is what your legal team should know about attorney burnout and how a call-answering service makes a difference.   

The signs of attorney burnout  

You or a legal team member has likely faced burnout at one point or another. Exhaustion, mental withdrawal and cynicism are classic signs that lawyers are reaching a breaking point. [2] They may refrain from discussing career advancement, company culture and case developments. Punctuality, accuracy and quality control may start impacting their productivity.  

If you or members of your law firm have experienced burnout, there are options to reduce the impact. In addition, heads of legal teams can put measures in place to prevent burnout from occurring.   

Why are attorneys burning out and what can be done about it?  

There are various reasons lawyers report struggling in their professions. One reason is that excessive hours often lead to a poor work-life balance. In a 2018 Legal Trends Report, three-fourths of attorneys reported working beyond regular business hours. [2] This added up to a total of 140 ad hoc hours every year. Attorneys also report feeling under-supported by management and the pressure of perfectionism alongside professionalism.   

How attorney burnout begins  

Burnout in the legal profession often begins before attorneys are even licensed. Preventing burnout early can be vital to having a long and successful career. There is ample documentation that law students experience extreme mental health issues. [2] Starting careers with poor time and stress management can prepare students for a challenging future. If you are a law student, you must review the steps below to prevent ongoing issues.   

Steps to prevent and manage legal burnout  

According to the Wolters Kluwer study, there are ways to manage and prevent burnout. [1] Here are some strategies experts from the study recommend adopting immediately to reduce stress:  

  • Consider hiring interim in-house counsel: Hiring an outside legal service provider can alleviate setbacks caused by understaffing and evenly balance workloads.  
  • Invest in technology: Automation and artificial intelligence programs can help law firms to deliver on goals faster.
  • Maintain open lines of communication: Legal leaders must listen to their employees and provide frequent evaluations for promotions and investments.
  • Embrace flexibility: According to the study, “69% of corporate lawyers expect to work remotely.” Law firms should adopt flexibility and provide work-from-home solutions to address burnout.   
  • Emphasis on career advancement: Law firms should identify ways to help attorneys advance and empower them with promotions to reward hard work.   
  • Take time off: It is essential to know when it is time to take a step back and reevaluate. Breaks can help attorneys to recenter and focus on improving their mental and physical well-being.   

How a legal call answering service helps attorneys   

Alert Communications supports law firms nationwide to reduce workloads related to answering clients, scheduling appointments and signing contracts. With 24/7, 365 live text, chat and answering services, you or your legal team will never miss a call again without having to do any additional work. Alert Communications also provides contract, retainer and questionnaire services to aid with daily tasks. Our services increase prospective client conversion rates by 25%. With an increase in revenue, law firms often experience lower rates of burnout when there are higher returns on investment.  

Schedule a call with a legal answering service and learn more about virtual receptionists 

Learn how virtual receptionists can improve your company culture and reduce burnout. Schedule an appointment online or call us at 800-211-4563 today to discuss our legal receptionist services. 


  1. Above The Law. Keeping In-House Counsel In-House.  

  1. Clio. Lawyer Burnout: Stopping It Before It Starts.