'Doing Meaningful Work' Tops Lawyers' List of Legal Career Concerns

What keeps you up at night when it comes to your legal career? A recent survey from Robert Half Legal suggests that lawyers are more concerned with making an impact than getting ahead financially. In fact, more than one-quarter (26 percent) of lawyers we interviewed said doing meaningful work is their greatest legal career concern.

Benefits ranked second with 20 percent of the survey response, followed by career growth or professional development (18 percent). Compensation was cited as the top legal career concern by just 14 percent of those surveyed.

Lawyers were asked, “What is your primary career concern?” Their responses:


Doing meaningful work


Benefits (e.g., healthcare or retirement)


Career growth or professional development




Job stability


Health of my company (e.g., new clients/ business generation, beating competition)




None/don’t know/no answer




Source: Survey of 350 lawyers with the largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada. The survey was commissioned by Robert Half Legal and conducted by an independent research firm.



Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal, noted that the legal field is demanding, "and the long hours and daily challenges can take their toll. Finding work that is both personally enriching and financially rewarding creates the greatest job satisfaction for legal professionals. Benefits, compensation and job stability go only so far when the work itself lacks meaning.” 

Looking for more information on managing your legal career? The following blog posts offer additional insight:

Experienced Lawyers in Demand While Junior Associates Compete for Legal Jobs
Three Trends Affecting Legal Careers Today
Thinking of Pursuing a Corporate Lawyer Job? Ask These Three Questions First
How to Fall in Love with Your Legal Job Again