Law firm King & Wood Mallesons has achieved a ‘first’ – the first Australian law firm receiving a notice from the occupational health and safety regulator, WorkSafe Victoria for improving working conditions for its lawyers following increased workloads resulting from the Australian inquiry into the financial sector.
The high volume of work has led junior lawyers at King & Wood Mallesons’ Melbourne office to be subject to grueling work conditions, with some employees sleeping in the office, according to reports in the Australian Financial Review.
The firm has been given a deadline of mid-November to respond to the WorkSafe investigations.
The firm’s chief executive, Berkeley Cox, said the firm is staffing up and creating a shift schedule as well as getting additional work from paralegals and others to assist with the work requirements and is also reviewing its health and safety requirements.
Legal professionals have said the situation is a wakeup call for the industry and something it will need to address and that it has become a precedent for the profession.