Many lawyers are totally cynical about attaining any sort of acceptable work/life balance.
A new piece of research by Eversheds has highlighted a major difference in opinion among leading law firms on whether such a thing is achievable.
While 46 per cent of partners believe it is a key objective, 48 per cent say it is a 'contradiction in terms' - 24/7 client demands mean it is inherently impossible.
The study is part of Eversheds' Law Firm of the 21st Century report, which was carried out by legal researcher, RSG Consulting.
Sue Lewis, senior office partner at Eversheds in Birmingham, said: "There is a clear difference of opinion amongst law firms and also from the client side on how to achieve a credible work/life balance, and whether it is a realistic goal in the legal profession, which can often involve unpredictability in the type of work we do.
"However, those firms who believe it is completely unachievable need to think about this seriously if they are to recruit and retain the best people. Thirty-six per cent of partners were concerned about retention given that the so-called 'Generation Y' have clear aspirations about work/life balance."
She continued: "However, in contrast to reports of unhappiness among assistant solicitors, the majority of partners interviewed (77 per cent) believe that law firms are good places to work, with one third believing they had become better over the past 10 years."
Fifty-six per cent of partners and 45 per cent of clients thought that flexible working did not offer a credible solution to work/life balance.
However, many said it should be a key business objective.
Ms Lewis said: "The increased use of mobile technology does mean that flexible working is achievable, and also provides clients with the peace of mind that should they need to get hold of their legal adviser, they can do.
"It is also necessary to have flexible working schemes in practice for those law firms increasingly working on an international level, across different jurisdictions and time zones.
"Law firms will fall behind other professional sectors if they don't offer flexible practices."
Meanwhile, the UK's top 100 law firms have achieved double-digit fee income growth in the quarter ended January 31, although the rate has slowed from the levels achieved in the previous two quarters, according to latest figures from accountants Deloitte.
Fee income growth in the third quarter was 10.6 per cent compared with growth rates of 12.5 per cent and 15.1 per cent in Q2 and Q1 respectively.
However, average chargeable hours per fee earner have fallen across all firms within the sector, indicating they do have capacity to take on more work.
Anna Marks, audit partner at Deloitte in Birmingham, said: "The results of our survey show that, in broad terms, lawyers continue to be relatively busy, which is extremely positive in the face of some gloomy predictions.
"Our survey has, once again, highlighted that there is an increasing polarisation of the sector as the larger firms continue to outperform the smaller firms, which will only get worse as a result of the introduction of the Legal Services Bill."
On average, fees per fee earner are up by 3.7 per cent across the Top 25 firms, but have only increased by 1.6 per cent across other firms in the Top 100.
Based on the strong first nine months performance there is general consensus amongst firms that double-digit growth will be achieved for the annual results to April 30 across the sector as a whole.