LM Extras Jul 11, 2022

Feeling Burned Out While Working Remotely? You’re Not Alone

Data from ALA’s 2022 Benchmarking Survey shows the pandemic is still wreaking havoc on employees’ well-being.

Lawyers are feeling overwhelmed despite a shift toward hybrid work in the legal industry, according to newly released data in the Executive Summary of ALA’s 2022 Benchmarking Survey. In the report, 58% of attorneys and staff members said their workload was as much as they could handle, while an additional 25% said it was more. About half of the respondents said they also expect their workload to increase further over the next two years.

Justin Askenazy

These numbers show that while remote and hybrid work models offer greater flexibility, employees are still struggling to balance work with other demands on their time. And there seems to be little relief on the horizon 60% of respondents expect their remote working levels to remain the same in the future.

But the news isn’t all doom and gloom. Salary has become the most popular compensation method for associates, with 84% joining 72% of non-equity partners and 51% of equity partners in saying so. Associates also reported a median base salary of $109,700 with a median cash compensation of $9,000.

This data comes from ALA’s first-ever Benchmarking Survey, which provides insight into how the pandemic and other factors — such as compensation, billing methods and common expenses — affect law firm profitability. 

“Through ALA’s 2022 Benchmarking Survey, administrators can view trends across the legal industry and compare their firm’s operations to those of similar size firms,” says Sarah Evenson, JD, MBA, Director of Law School Programs and Office Administrator at Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, and 2022-2023 ALA President. “As the report shows, there is ample opportunity for managers to assess their firm’s performance and efficiency and gauge what others are doing, especially related to remote work and wellness.”

The full survey results, which are available for purchase now, also reveal the extent to which outsourcing has become prevalent among legal organizations. Seventy-six percent of firms outsourced at least one service, most commonly information technology and payroll and benefits. However, the larger a firm is, the less likely it is to outsource.

Responses about billing methods, too, revealed a clear preference for the traditional hourly tracking format. But among those who use alternative methods, flat fees are a strong favorite — at 65% — over contingency-based and blended hourly billing.

The Benchmarking Survey was introduced to provide a broader context for future budgetary and staffing decisions at firms ranging in size from national organizations to solo practices. As the data makes clear, the pandemic continues to have a sizable impact on offices and employees alike, and administrators must likely keep that in mind as they make decisions for the future.


Interested in seeing more data? ALA’s 2022 Benchmarking Survey provides a baseline report on many factors that affect law firm profitability. Respondents provided information on compensation and its determinants for equity and non-equity attorneys as well as associates. The survey also covers hourly rates, billable and nonbillable hours, modifications to billable hour policies, alternative billing methods, common expenses, outsourcing and office space expectations. Get your copy today at a special introductory price.