The Health And Well-Being Of People Working In Legal Services
Two thirds of solicitors (66%) feel high levels of stress in their jobs according to a myriad of research into the legal sector and mental health issues.
Every year in the UK, 70 million workdays are lost to mental illness. When mental illness is now the leading cause of sickness and absence from work, it seems strange that more is not being done to help legal professionals working in extremely stressful conditions.
According to the recent ‘Stress in the Legal Profession: Problematic or Inevitable’ report by LexisNexis, legal professionals feel as though a level of stress comes with the territory.
The report found that 66% of respondents feel high levels of stress with 75% concerned that stress and mental well-being is a major issue that needs addressing in the legal sector.
Over a quarter of respondents feel that more needs to be done to help and support colleagues struggling to cope with the rigours of the job.
The health and well-being of legal service professionals has started deteriorating in recent years. Lawcare, a charity promoting and supporting good mental health for all in the legal community witnessed a surge of calls being made to their helpline in 2018.
The 624 calls received by the helpline in 2017 were eclipsed by the 932 calls taken in 2018. Of these calls, the majority were concerned about their mental health. Over a quarter (26%) felt stressed by their jobs, almost a fifth (19%) were starting to feel depressed. Over a tenth (11%) of callers were anxious about their jobs and the service they are providing.
Almost half of all the calls received (48%) were made by legal professionals with less than five years’ qualified experience.
The Junior Lawyers Division’s resilience and well-being survey also found a huge number of younger legal professionals struggling with work related mental health issues.
The 2019 survey found that 93% of respondents reported feeling stressed in their role the month before they completed the survey. Over a quarter of qualified members surveyed felt severely or extremely stressed.
The survey classed stress as being under too much emotional or mental pressure. When almost all of young legal professionals feel this way, it is clear that more should be done to improve the working conditions in the sector.
77% of respondents believe that their firm could do more to support those with stress at work with 87% looking for their employer to provide more guidance and support when it comes to mental ill health.
Whilst the call from those within the profession is looking to employers to do more, the reports also found that the majority of legal service providers are happy in their jobs, finding stress to be an unavoidable consequence of carrying out such an important service.
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This article was submitted to be published by The Cashroom as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.