Lawyer Wellbeing

Over the last 20 years, there has been a lot of changes for us all to adjust to and think about. In 2000, there was talk of a digital crisis; the ‘millennium bug’ that would have huge consequences around the world, more war conflicts than you can shake a stick at and a global financial crisis. In 2020, the word ‘bug’ has a whole new set of biological connotations, yet with the same outcomes predicted by those two decades ago.

We live in uncertain times as we continue to wrestle with political, social and environmental unrest across the world. Closer to home we are wading through the aftermath of Brexit and further economic disruption relating to fuel prices (thus travel), the rise of cryptocurrency and of course rising taxes to compensate for those furloughed. It’s enough to feel stressed about even before considering our personal circumstances, let alone those at work.

Lawyer Woes

Everyone in the profession knows, more is expected of Lawyers today than ever before. Instability, be it local, national or global, can have both a positive and detrimental effect on the legal sector. But whether there is a clear slowdown or significant increase in instructions, Lawyers are under pressure to meet bigger targets, bill more chargeable hours and bring in new work through business development.

Work-related Stress

Being a Lawyer can be very stressful – I don’t need to preach that to anyone. The most obvious scenario where stress is in abundance is with Lawyers at big city corporate firms. The systemic long hours and the need to achieve coupled with the lack of recognition as well as the sense of having to go it ‘alone’ all take their toll. But there are so many other pains for legal professionals which are not so readily publicised or talked about. These are occurring across firms of all sizes. From juggling family life with work to adjusting to new technology that is been rolled out across the firm; we all have our stressors and different points at which we reach internal crisis. We are all after all only human!

In the legal sector, work-related stress is a very big deal. Low energy and morale, anxiety and depression are all symptoms. It can lead to much bigger mental health issues which can impact on work performance and, worst-case scenario, cause a decision to leave a career behind entirely.

What can Law Firms do to Support Lawyers?

It's up to employers to provide a mentally healthy workplace. While more is being spoken about regarding mental health, there is still a stigma around it, especially in the work environment. Now more than ever there is a strong case for law firms to promote good physical and mental health for all their staff.

It needs to go beyond the more ‘frivolous’ approach. A duvet day here or there or a mindfulness session at lunchtime is not going to tackle any underlying issues which are causing stress, exhaustion and chronic fatigue. Frequently reviewing employee contracts to make sure they align with the individuals need is one hands-on way. However, the simplest method to support your Lawyers is effective communication and building a healthy relationship bridging between the professional and personal.


Siobhan is a Legal Recruitment Consultant who specialises in finding the perfect role for qualified Lawyers in London. If your firm is no longer meeting your requirements and you are looking for a new opportunity in a supportive workplace, contact to find out more about your options.

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