Worries about junior associates, many of whom are sleep deprived

This blog does bang on about the drawbacks of relying on junior associates in law firms (See my post of May 11, 2007: associates and complaints about them with 13 references.)

In-house managers believe newbie associates don’t know enough, work too slowly, pile on the hours with a heavy hand, and are not worth their billing rates. Some believe they are forever sitting in intra-firm meetings, or that they lack judgment, or they are learning on our dime. But now another ugly truth should waken general counsel at night: young associates are asleep.

A survey sponsored by the National Association of Law Placement (NALP) Foundation for Law Career Research and Education roused me in the Fin. Times, April 6, 2006. The NALP survey found that more than a third of lawyers sleep only five or six hours a night.

If you do not sleep enough, you can’t think enough. Nor do other cognitive functions hold up (See my post of May 2, 2008: sleep enhances memory; Nov. 7, 2007: sleep relieves stress; and Feb. 20, 2007: sleep on it to make a good decision.). On the side, the NALP survey found that “junior lawyers in firms manage to take only eight days of uninterrupted holiday time per year.” No catching up of sleep on a beach, either.

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