Law firms should provide better training and support to managers and trainee solicitors to reduce high stress levels amongst newly qualified solicitors, the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) of the Law Society of England and Wales said last week, following the release of a survey of its members.
Kayleigh Leonie, the JLD’s Council member at the Law Society, prepared the survey and commented: “This survey highlights the huge pressure that junior lawyers feel as they begin their careers, and the impact of that pressure on their mental health.
“The JLD will be producing guidance for employers to support them with tackling stress and mental health issues affecting junior lawyers in the workplace.”
Law Society president Robert Bourns said: “Law can be a very demanding career. We are driven to do our best for our clients, drawn to the intellectual challenge and we may thrive on the high pressure the work entails.
“However, if we hope to sustain a rewarding career and maintain the best services for clients, then our own, our colleagues’ and employees’ health and wellbeing are of paramount importance.
“Solicitors experiencing stress at work should speak to their line manager or seek support sooner rather than later. The Law Society has a free helpline that offers confidential support for all our members. We also provide a range of resources to support good practice management.”
- Over 93% of junior lawyers who responded to the survey had suffered with stress in the month before completing the survey
- 73% of respondents said that their firm could do more to support staff experiencing stress
- Over 73% of respondents stated their employer did not provide any help, guidance or support to employees in relation to mental health in the workplace or that they did not know if their employer did.
The survey showed that the key stress factors for junior lawyers are:
- high workload
- lack of support
- client demands/expectations
- ineffective management.
Junior lawyers believe a number of initiatives could help reduce the negative impact of stress:
- training (both for management and junior lawyers)
- increased visibility of internal policies
- more supervision
- better management.