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Not being allowed to work from home among top COVID-19 concerns to lawyer-wellbeing helpline

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LawCare stats released to mark start of Mental Health Awareness Week

Not being permitted to work from home and financial issues due to furloughing are among the top COVID-19-related concerns cited by legal professionals reaching out to mental health charity LawCare.

The stats, released to mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, show that the legal charity received 130 contacts (helpline calls, emails and web-chats) from legal professionals since 10 March, with 48 of those (37%) related to the pandemic.

Other reasons to reach out included worsening of existing mental health conditions, relationship strain, childcare issues and being asked to work whilst on furlough.

“We feel this is very much the tip of the iceberg and anticipate in the coming weeks more and more legal professionals will contact us as the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic begins to really hit home,” LawCare chief executive, Elizabeth Rimmer, said.

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“We would like to remind all legal professionals, including support staff, they can contact us for free, in confidence, to discuss anything that is bothering them, she continued. “Talking through your problems with one of our trained staff and volunteers, who have all worked in the law themselves, can really help.”

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, LawCare is encouraging legal professionals to share moments in their career when someone showed them kindness. You can share yours using #momentofkindness and tagging @LawCareLtd on Twitter, or LawCare on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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

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17 Comments

Any advice is welcome - please be honest

Genuine Question:

I’ve been offered a TC at a firm that has an office in London but also regionally and I’ve been given a choice… the firms regional office is very close to where I live and I wouldn’t have to pay for bills or anything like that as I live at home with family so it will all go to savings. The Trainee salary is 20k and nq salary is around 40k.

But I could also choose London, where the salary is more than double the regional salary but the rent and the living costs would be high plus I’d have to probably rent a tiny room in a shared house with a bunch of strangers.

I genuinely don’t know what to do. I’ve heard horror stories about the realities of working and living in London and I question if I’ll have a better quality of life if I pick the regional office

(11)(0)

Passer-by

I wouldn’t let the cost of living during your TC be a major factor tbh, unless you have debts you need to pay off now (ie bad debt not student loan). Especially since you don’t need to spend £20k on rent in London so you can still save as much as you do if you live at home. You can get a studio in London for like £800 per month if you don’t want to live with others.

The main issue is where do you want to live. Ie not just now, but for the foreseeable future? Do you want to live and build a career in your hometown or in London?

Do you want to do fancy high-flying law with the higher salary and longer hours that go with that, or are you happy dealing with lower matters and having a better work-life balance and shorter hours? (And I guess work out if these distinctions make sense in the context of the particular law firm.)

Another consideration is what the main areas of specialism are in the London and regional office – what area of law do you want to qualify into?

It also depends where the regional firm is — if Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham etc then it’s somewhere with a thriving legal market, where you can have a high-flying career. If it’s Huddersfield or wherever, then not so much (though that might be ok).

It will be easier to go from London to the regions than vice versa.

All other things being equal I’d probably pick London for the extra money and increased flexibility.

(17)(2)

Confused dot com

The regional office is in Birmingham.

And thanks for your take on it, I really appreciate your perspective

(2)(0)

Londoner

£800/month for a well-maintained en-suite studio? Sounds delightful! Any examples on Rightmove that aren’t in places like Barking and Croydon?

(4)(1)

Good Game

Those places are in London though (OK Croydon is arguable due to postcode) so Passer-by’s point stands.

(1)(0)

Henry

Unless you’re working at a US firm in London for one that pays a good six figures… you’d be better off in a regional firm tbh.

London Firms that have regional offices tend to have around 80 ish k salary in London and then 46k in the regional office and it literally works out exactly the same once you take into account the tax, student loan, costs of living etc

(5)(7)

Fred

In London you probably won’t be able to buy a property until you’ve had about 15 years PQE

(7)(0)

Anon

What is the difference in the type of work available in each office? Your TC will be defined by the people you sit with during your seats. Who you sit with will be determined by the work load.

If it’s a “commercial firm” with a big London office and a few other spotted around England, chances are the busiest teams in the regions will be commercial conveyancing (prepare to do all the high street shop leases) and residential conveyancing; property litigation which will be boundary disputes and resi landlords trying to kick belligerent uni students out of their terrible flats; private client of some sort; and a blended corporate & commercial agreements transactional seat. This last option could be very interesting depending on the firm – it will be low value work so nothing that will wind up in the FT but you could be doing IP licences, agency agreements, supply agreements and small business m&a stuff all together which would be great exposure. If you’re fine with this, go for it! You seem more keen on staying at home anyways.

There is the reputation factor. Despite what recruiters and grad rec HR managers try to claim, there is a heightened prestige of being a City lawyer and training in London. I know many who have trained in London and took up NQ roles in the regions, or did a lateral move at senior associate level to do the Home Counties life comfortably. Plus, bigger offices means more TC seat options. Might have the option to do more specialized seats in areas of interest like construction, tax advisory, banking/finance, dedicated IP seat, etc. If none of these interest you and your regional office does everything you want, then this might not help if you know you’ll just eventually move anyways.

FYI living with strangers isn’t so bad – you make new friends, or as a future lawyer, meet potential clients. Especially if you join one of those dedicate apartment/co-ops for young professionals/London grad scheme workers. Home cooked meals are hard to beat though.

Congrats on being in a good position BTW.

(10)(0)

Pertru

Stay at parents? Sounds dull and boring. Rent with mates in your 20s and live a little. London is the easy choice here.

(2)(2)

no

Don’t listen to all of the horror stories about living in London. All things considered it is a great place to live. Work harder now while you’re young and you’ll have more options later if you want a change.

(1)(1)

justdoit

At a 40k salary you can afford 800-1000 per month in rent, which will get you a room in a decent flat share. It’s better to do a share because the quality of the place will be far better than renting alone, and if you devote a bit of time to finding a decent place, you will have a small group of people who you get to know outside of work. Follow the advice of the other guy and look to the young professional house letting options.

London is brilliant, and you can always move back if you want to. If you don’t go, you will probably always have a feeling of “what if?” and it would be extremely difficult to go there in later life. You will be much busier, but you will also be a much better lawyer and learn far much as a result.

(2)(1)

A A

London has never been “brilliant” and will be a hell of a lot less so over the next few years if public transport becomes effectively impossible for the majority to use.

I suspect many firms will struggle to reconcile the premium they pay for London real-estate with a wider economic downturn and clients/staff more anxious to meet via Zoom. Equally, the experience of living in London in an era of coronavirus will be much less fun as a trainee.

Would be interesting to know if the cyclical downturn in recruitment also affects London firms more than ones in the provinces?

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Why can’t lawyers work at home ?
If we’re talking about criminal/jury trials and the like sure. But otherwise wfh is easy.

If anything this is an opportunity to put an end to the outdated and tribal practices in money law. The amount of trainees at big firms that I met close to tears at the exhaustion from midnight finishes is just stupid

(1)(3)

Anonymous

Moaning snowflakes. Unless you are over 65, have specific condition or are very very fat you have no good reason to dodge going into the office.

(3)(9)

Very Very Fat

I’ll be alright then.

(0)(0)

Barrister’s Very Very Fat Wife

That’s absolutely no way to speak about barristers. How rude!

(1)(0)

Barrister’s Very Young Second Wife

He has hidden all his money. He started to make his plans first day you bought a size 10 dress.

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.

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