Overwhelmed? Mind racing? Can’t sleep? Life in the law can be challenging and sometimes things can get on top of you. Talk to us – we’ve been there.
Law is by nature competitive and adversarial and the heavy workload begins when studying or training to be a lawyer. There are high levels of negative emotions within law: the work is often about winning or losing requiring legal professionals to be critical, judgemental, combative and aggressive. You are required to think pessimistically, looking for potential problems and worse-case scenarios. In addition, many lawyers are perfectionists who fear failure and making mistakes. All of this can significantly affect mental health and wellbeing.
LawCare is an independent charity offering emotional support, information and training to the legal community in the UK and Ireland. We work to promote good mental health and wellbeing in legal workplaces and drive change in education, training and practice. We’ve been supporting legal professionals for over 20 years and no-one knows lawyers like we do.
Our free and confidential support service offers a safe place to talk without judgement. We’re here to help, with helpline calls, emails and webchats answered in confidence by trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law. We also have a network of peer supporters, people who work in the legal profession who may have been through difficult times themselves and can offer one-to-one support, friendship and mentoring to helpline callers referred to them.
We have visited hundreds of legal workplaces over the years and we have listened to thousands of legal professionals tell us about the stress, anxiety and depression they are experiencing, which is often caused or exacerbated by a difficult working environment. Lack of support or supervision, an overly critical manager, being undermined after a career break, an unreasonably heavy workload, long hours and sleep deprivation are all very common issues.
Whether you’re a barrister feeling burnt out, a young trainee experiencing sexual harassment, a student struggling with the workload, support staff worrying about a mistake you’ve made, a senior lawyer feeling like you’re being pushed out – we’re here to listen.
We are here to help all branches of the legal profession: solicitors, barristers, barrister’s clerks, judges, legal executives, paralegals, trade mark attorneys, patent agents, costs lawyers and their staff and families.
LawCare was founded by the legal profession in 1997, primarily to support lawyers who were experiencing issues with alcohol, giving them a space to talk about their problems in confidence. We now cover a range of issues, ranging from stress to depression to anxiety to bullying at work.
We have witnessed significant growth and change in the legal profession over the last two decades, as organisations started to embrace the mental health agenda and recognised the need to look after those who need support with mental health issues. Momentum around mental health and wellbeing in the legal community has been particularly growing in the last few years, with many firms now rolling out wellbeing initiatives and providing training to staff in this area. Firms need to do their best to create a healthy and happy place to work, not just because it is the right thing to do but because there is a strong proven business case for it.
If you need emotional support call our helpline on 0800 279 6888 or access webchat, email support, peer support, information, resources and factsheets at www.lawcare.org.uk.