Practising law, and the pursuit of a career in the legal industry, can be stressful, demoralising and energy-sapping and we can often forget or neglect our health and well-being. Studies and articles released this week show a frightening amount of practitioners are struggling: research has shown that 1 in 15 junior solicitors is suicidal and another report found that lawyers are the second most stressed professionals. Being in the legal community can bring a lot of pressure: to always be working, to always be brilliant, to always have the answer. You may also be experiencing difficulties outside of work and/or study that mean you are struggling. All of this can add up to your mental and physical well-being suffering.
Well-being is something that has, historically, often been overlooked in practitioners and students; but the tide has begun to turn, and there are now some fantastic resources and support networks for those in need of a helping hand. There is now no need to ‘suffer in silence’ or to ‘man up’ or to just keep powering through in the hopes your problems will disappear. I thought it would be helpful to start a running list of organisations and articles, which I shall keep updated, that can help support and signpost those who need it (which, let’s be honest, is all of us at some point or other)…
- LawCare – the organisation offers free and confidential counselling, mentoring sessions and lots of fantastic information and support for practitioners and students alike, while also aiming to reduce and address the stigma of seeking help. They provide “support and information for anyone in the legal community who is feeling the pressure of work or study, experiencing relationship or financial problems, coping with illness, dependency, bereavement, anxiety or depression.” See my interview with the CEO, Elizabeth Rimmer here for more tips and information. Plus their LawCare Toolkit.
- Mental Health and Wellbeing at the Bar – a website to specifically provide support and best practice to barristers, clerks and chambers on well-being and mental health issues.
- The Bar Council – a summary of the organisations The Bar Council endorse for supporting well-being.
- Stress and the legal profession – an article written by the Law Society
- Yoga for lawyers – an article I wrote on the benefits of exercise
- Dealing with revision and exam stress – an article I wrote for LawCare with tips and tricks from me and many other law students for particularly stressful times of the academic year
- Loving Legal Life – a brilliant series written by a practising barrister, James Pereira QC and a systemic coach, Zita Tulyahikayo
- Why Lawyers Are Unhappy – an incredibly insightful and interesting piece written by Alistair Wye, a lawyer and technologist on his blog, Lawtomated
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