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Calls to lawyer wellbeing helpline continue to rise with stress, depression and bullying among top concerns

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Over half of callers to LawCare were trainees, pupils or junior lawyers

Legal mental health charity LawCare received over 900 calls from 677 callers last year, an 8% increase in the number of people seeking help compared to 2018.

The most common problems received by the charity’s free, independent and confidential helpline, concerned stress (26%) and depression (12%), while the number of lawyers complaining of bullying jumped by 70% — 47 in 2018, compared to 70 last year. Bullying accounts for 12% of all calls, with almost two-thirds (66%) of lawyers saying they were being bullied by a manager or superior.

The majority of callers to the helpline were women (67%) and over half (53%) were trainees or pupils, or had been qualified less than five years. A further 5% were law students.

Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said: “We spent 304 hours providing support on the phone last year, answering a call every 2 ½ hours. Last year also saw the launch of our new webchat service enabling us to provide support to more people. The biggest trend we’ve noticed is the number of people contacting us about bullying and harassment which is now one of the top three issues people contact us about, possibly because of a lot more attention on this issue in the media over the past couple of years.”

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Rimmer, who will be speaking at The Future of Legal Education and Training Conference (LegalEdCon) North in Manchester on 30 January, continued:

“We will be undertaking more detailed research later this year to discover exactly how the culture of law is impacting on wellbeing and mental health, and we hope to use this to drive change in legal workplaces.”

The latest phoneline figures come just days after the charity announced it had teamed up with academics from the University of Sheffield and The Open University to launch a new online course on emotional competency and professional resilience.

Feeling stressed? You can contact LawCare by calling 0800 279 6888 in the UK.

15 Comments

K

I was shouted verbal abuse repeatedly in front of clients at a very, very well known legal charity.

They used to have BPTC students investigate harassment complaints until 2013, siding with their friends. You can imagine how through and well-managed that was.

This survey accords with my own experiences. My sincerest sympathies to others going through the same. There are some truly horrible people in the profession.

(25)(4)

Anon

What was shouted?

(0)(0)

K

“Shut up you stupid women. I can’t believe you think that’s possible. What a stupid woman you are!”

It’s not an allegation. A witness in the office came forward. He was found to have brought the charity into disrepute for that and other behaviour.

I feel so sorry for the shouting his wife must endure.

(5)(3)

Anonymous

How many times did he allegedly say this, and did he use the exact same words each time? If the complaint was raised, investigated, found to be true, and a finding made against him, I’m not sure what the issue is.

The part about his wife is most certainly an allegation, and not true until proven to be so.

(1)(14)

Anonymous

“I feel so sorry for the shouting his wife must endure.” That sort of melodrama deserves a backing track played on a tiny, tiny, violin.

K

They had BPTC students conduct the first investigation, then put me through two mediation sessions at Linklaters office with a High Court judge as a mediator.

I got a pro bono barrister from my Inn to help at mediation. For being shouted at repeatedly and stalked, I had to go through mediation sessions. Not the harasser. No-one reported him to the BSB.

They then kicked ME out of the charity, not the harrasser. The charity went through 5 CEOs during the duration of the complaint and two mediation sessions.

Hundreds of cases each year left on the shelves because they don’t have enough volunteers, and they are kicked volunteers out after complaining of sexual harassment.

It’s a horrible way to treat volunteers who have no option to approach the courts and genuinely care about using their legal skills to help others.

Absolute silence from the profession as to how poorly student volunteers are treated.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Oh snowflake, you were shouted at and you did not like it. Poor poor you. You try to shoehorn your rampant resentment and allegations into every thread. No-one cares. You did nothing about it, which is your problem if there was anything to your allegations. Bye-bye.

(9)(31)

K

You going to be brave and put your name to your words? Thought not. Maybe you work at the charity and contribute to their problems?

Speak like that to your colleagues? I feel so sorry for anyone at home that also has to listen to your rantings.

(30)(2)

Anon

This just goes to prove why people call the helpline though doesn’t it?

There are some absolutely horrible people working law with zero empathy and social skills.

(1)(0)

Kelly

I feel stressed, but if I were to call I’d just have less time to do an impossible amount of work. Conundrum.

(20)(0)

Anonymous

One of the worst forms of bullying we see is false accusations of sexual harassment.

(4)(10)

Oh dear

If only there was evidence of all these mass false accusations!!!

(11)(2)

Anonymous

There is, but it’s for the person alleging sexual harassment to provide evidence. Innocent until proven guilty remember!

(0)(1)

Oh deary me

‘There is’ – yeah, where though?

Your claim of evidence of mass false allegations of sexual harassment seems itself an allegation.

And one therefore YOU need to prove.

Where’s the evidence bro?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

At my first job as a paralegal I was screamed at (by the partner I assisted) that I was going to cause her to have a miscarriage due to stress. Funnily enough the issue in question had arose from something she had done, not me. Still, something like that is not nice to have said to you when you always gave 100%. I handed in my notice shortly thereafter.

(8)(1)

Comments are closed.

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