Document Type

Journal Article


Taylor & Francis


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Business




Omari, M. , & Paull, M. (2013). 'Shut up and bill': Workplace bullying challenges for the legal profession. International Journal of the Legal Profession, 20(2), 141-160.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of the Legal Profession on 30 Jan 2014, available online:


Competition, work intensification and requirements for efficiency are some of the hallmarks of the modern work environment. Pressures in such settings can result in stress caused by long work hours, a lack of work-life balance and interpersonal conflict. The legal profession is prone to negative impacts due to its highly competitive environment. This, coupled with established hierarchical structures, significant power imbalances and pressure to measure work input rather than output (billable hours), can create 'toxic' settings. This paper reports the findings of a study of dignity and respect in the legal profession. Results indicate that many of the issues arise due to negative workplace cultures brought about and perpetuated by work practices and the leadership of the firm. Often the prevailing culture of intense competition, and a win-at-all-costs mentality, has negative repercussions for the security and standing of individuals. Those with position and power use work practices such as billable hours to push others to perform at extraordinary levels, in turn adversely affecting their well-being, quality of work life and tenure in the organisation or profession. The way forward would require a multi-pronged approach and cooperation and collaboration by the relevant stakeholders: regulators, professional associations, institutions and individuals.



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