Lawyer Monthly - August 2022

32 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | AUG 2022 Some practitioners still say that there is a culture of 'just get on with it' from firms when they are dealing with, for example, work that is stressful or emotionally demanding. But regulators are starting to take a more severe approach to the wellbeing of people in the workplace throughout the legal sector. This will have an impact across the board, in that eventually it is likely that employers will become liable for any errors that result from high stress. Employers are responsible for the problem. A further study by LawCare found that the global pandemic exacerbated the mental and physical health of employees in the sector, with anxiety and stress the most common reasons for employees to reach out. Research by Protectivity also shows a high level of mental health problems in the legal sector, with data showing that people in this sector are the second most stressed after employees working in HR. GETTING TO THE HEART OF MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION Combating a High-Stress Culture Within Law Firms I think there is an insidious legacy within legal services that stress is simply part and parcel of being a lawyer or employee in the sector. Of course, stress of some description is generally present for most people, whether they are wealth managers or business leaders. And stress is to be expected – to a level. The problems come when stress becomes too much and when it is relentless. This is when stress translates into mental health issues that impact the bottom line, other colleagues and ultimately the client. When it comes to widespread poor mental health, the business can expect a decrease in productivity and billing, far more employees leaving and a dip in long-term profits. According to Dr Bob Murray, a third of all lawyers will ideate suicide at least once every year.

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