Calls concerning bullying and harassment up 80%, says lawyer helpline

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Majority of callers to LawCare women

LawCare, a mental health charity that runs a helpline offering support to lawyers, has revealed calls concerning bullying and harassment nearly doubled over the last year. The charity handled 68 calls relating to bullying and harassment in 2018, an 80% increase (38 calls) on the previous year.

Overall, the free, independent and confidential helpline received 932 calls from 624 callers in 2018, an increase of 5% on 2017.

According to the stats, the most common reason for calling was stress (26%), followed by depression (19%) and anxiety (11%). Forty-eight percent of callers were trainees/pupil or had been qualified for less than five years. The majority of callers were women (64%).

Other reasons to pick up the phone included concerns about disciplinary proceedings (8%), career development (9%), chronic illness, alcohol and drugs, and relationship issues.

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Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said: “2018 was our busiest year to date on the helpline since we started over twenty years ago. Whilst we are pleased more lawyers are reaching out to us for support, we remain increasingly concerned about the long hours and heavy workload culture in the law which significantly affects wellbeing.” She added:

“We are particularly concerned about the number of callers citing bullying and harassment in the workplace, it is absolutely essential that legal practice organisations take steps to stamp this out and take the wellbeing and treatment of staff seriously.”

The findings come after a cross-profession taskforce claimed changes in culture, leadership and operations are necessary in order to create a more “mentally healthy” legal sector.

The group, which is made up of solicitors, barristers and industry experts (including LawCare staff), agreed it was imperative that City law firm bosses take the mental health of junior lawyers seriously and that it becomes the responsibility of management to monitor and improve staff wellbeing.

You can contact LawCare by calling 0800 279 6888 in the UK or 1800 991 801 in Ireland.

Purchase tickets for the Future of Legal Education and Training Conference 2019, taking place on 22 May at Kings Place, London, with a dedicated panel session on mental health and wellbeing.



The rise of the snowflake?




Is that you Antoinette?



It’s me Nick Rees head of Clifford Chance Tokyo office known for making trainees stay up late and miss their families, weddings, holidays and various social events.



Bullying is rife in law. No idea how you stamp it out though



624 individuals out of the entire legal profession:

Solicitors – 140,000
Trainees – 6,000 (estimate)
Barristers – 16,000
Pupil – 400 (estimate)
ILEX Members – 20,000
Non ILEX Paralegals – 20,000 (estimate)
Students – 22,000 (18.5k undergrads + prof qual courses)

That’s 224,000 – but LawCare’s reach is bigger as it includes “UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and Jersey” and stretches to “solicitors, barristers, barrister’s clerks, judges, Chartered Legal Executives, paralegals, trade mark attorneys, patent agents, costs lawyers and their staff and families. Our support spans the legal life from student to training to practice and retirement.”

I’ll use the 224,000 estimate to be fair, but I think the number is actually much bigger. LawCare helps 0.28% of the legal community at a generous estimate.

It is funded by the legal community and receives £320,000 a year to do that (from its published accounts), so a cost of £513 per head for every person who contacts the charity.



Interesting but I don’t understand what point you are trying to make. Raise awareness of the helpline so more people call? Scrap the funding?



We need to end bullying

And we need solidarity with the oppressed

We need open door immigration to welcome the oppressed

And we also need socialism to restore to the people what has been stolen




Going to snap soon

In the name of my sanity, SHUT UP



As the world’s elites gather in Davos, we face staggering levels of inequality due to an economic system rigged in favour of a tiny few. Instead of tinkering around the edges, we need radical change to our economic model.


A workers Brexit and windfall taxes!



Stay hard.


Martial Law

Its not bullying its called training

what doesnt kill you makes you stronger.

this country is f&cked if ever we have to get serious again




The WW2 generation would despair!


Bumpole of the Bailey

I bum my pupil on a regular basis in the name of character building and wellbeing.


Kestral Selby-Body

Just bully them back. What’s the concern?



Law is a mugs game.

Wish I was young enough and had enough money to requalify. Trufax.



The majority of callers on the whole were women, at 64%, but the percentage of women calling about bullying and harassment could be more or less than 64%.



It’s absolutely rife as well in the legal voluntary sector, particularly those charities that prepare employment and social security tribunal cases.


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