Until recently, mental health awareness in the legal industry has taken more of a backseat. Fortunately, that picture is beginning to change, with more surveys, guides and toolkits being made available to legal professionals.

Well-being in the workplace is important for any industry, but it needs to hold particular priority in the legal sector. Studies have shown that lawyers are the second most stressed professionals in the country. In a survey by the Junior Lawyers Division, more than 93% of respondents had experienced stress in their role in the previous month. Almost a quarter of those individuals were severely or extremely stressed. 

Now more than ever, well-being in the legal workplace needs to be addressed, so that legal professionals can continue to deliver those all-important results for their clients. 

Adjusting to the new normal

The events of 2020 and their fallout have added copious amounts of pressure to the legal industry workload.  With divorce cases at an all time high, the property market constantly fluctuating, not to mention all the changes caused by Brexit, legal professionals have had little time to adjust to a new normal.

The pressure to deal with this ever increasing workload caused a significant strain on well-being in the legal sector; longer hours, more clients and constantly changing rules and regulations. Add the anxieties felt by everyone because of the pandemic and its impact – not seeing loved ones, restricted freedoms, financial strain and health worries. 

Combining the two gives an altogether unsurprising result – mental health in the legal industry is suffering.

Mental health awareness in law firms

Mental health awareness in law firms has seen an encouraging increase over recent years. Legal mental health charity LawCare recently published a study assessing the impact of workplace culture and practices on employees’ wellbeing, as well as issues around mental health. 

The findings will be used to improve the levels of support available to employees in the legal industry. 

Raising awareness is a win-win for everyone. Legal professionals can’t bring their A game if they’re struggling themselves. In order for lawyers to help their clients, the legal industry needs to look after their employees. 

How law firms can help their employees

Open and honest communication

Employees need to feel comfortable about sharing their concerns in the workplace. It’s also a great way to build a support network at work from like-minded professionals who are experiencing the same issues. 

Well-being services

Access to well-being services such as guides, toolkits and counselling is a great way to look after well-being in the workplace. Even signposting to the nearest available resources is a good first step for smaller firms who might not be able to factor an abundance of resources into their budget.

Realistic workload

Lawyers are prepared for high workloads when they enter the sector, especially in times such as these. But it’s also important to be realistic about what they can achieve. A study by Bupa found 46% of legal employees said their workload negatively affected their wellbeing.

If legal professionals are stretched too thin, it can lead to burnout. Not only can this cause more damage to their well-being in the long-term, but it also affects their ability to look after clients. Make sure you’re having honest conversations about how much your employees can take on.

One way of lightening the workload is by outsourcing your accounts. Let us deal with the financial side of things, leaving you more time and energy to spend on what matters most to your firm: taking care of clients. 

At Numero, we offer expert legal accounts services, from invoicing to cashiering. Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help.