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Over half of trainee solicitors ‘unable to cope with stress’ during lockdown

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Report also finds most firms have struggled to train rookies remotely

Trainees and junior lawyers have particularly struggled with their mental health during lockdown, new research has found.

The report, produced by Luminance, a machine learning-backed due diligence tool, found that over half of rookies (56%) were “unable to cope because of stress” in the last few months. By comparison, 10% of lawyers aged 55-64 had experienced similar problems with stress.

Almost half of all respondents (42%) said that they had felt unable to cope because of stress, while a further 12% reported they “could not cope on a regular basis”.

The research — published today and based on data from a survey of over 100 legal professionals at top-30 UK law firms — also found that training and managing junior lawyers were areas most firms had struggled to do remotely.

One unnamed lawyer explained: “Working from home is not too difficult at the senior end as lawyers act independently, but junior associates and trainees have struggled a bit more as they require support and supervision from the more senior lawyers, this can be very difficult to do remotely.”

The report follows research published last month which found that the majority of City law firms believe that training contracts from next year will be a mix of online and on-the-job learning.

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Junior lawyers previously shared their experiences of lockdown as part of a feature for Legal Cheek published in April.

One magic circle rookie explained how it was almost impossible to maintain any work/life balance at all while working from home. “Trainees are waking up early in the morning to log-on to computers to be met with demand for work that does not stop until late into the night,” they told us.

But not everyone is hating the ‘new normal’, with another insider telling us: “At risk of coming across as smug, I haven’t experienced a significant change in my day-to-day working life as it was common for me to work an entire week or two from home before the current situation.”

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

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