Stress is still lawyers’ biggest concern

lawyers stessFrom Legal Futures 19/04/13:

Three-quarters of lawyers in the UK and Ireland report being more stressed than they were five years ago but two-thirds are reluctant to report their concerns to employers, a survey has found.

However, while seven out of ten said their work environment was stressful, almost half also described their workplace as friendly.

I would be interested to know what proportion of responders worked in law firms versus in house.  Very interested indeed.

Results from the latest survey by LawCare – the independent charity which helps lawyers with problems such as stress, depression and alcohol misuse [all lawyers, then] – which consulted around 1,000 lawyers of all stripes across the UK and Ireland, mirror the preliminary findings reported by Legal Futures last August.

More than 57% of those who responded were English and Welsh solicitors. Almost 15% were solicitors in Scotland and more than 11% were Irish barristers.

No, “there was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman” jokes please. Ahem.

Being overloaded with work (60%), poor management – including lack of appreciation (53%) [diddums]– and feeling isolated and/or unsupported (53%) topped the list of causes of stress, although many respondents skipped this question.

Erm – where’s “unreasonable and unrealistic clients” on that list? And why isn’t the “work overload” figure higher?


Long hours (41%), poor pay (30%) and having unattainable targets (30%) were also cited, along with lack of job security, being asked to do work beyond their expertise and being bullied.

And just in case you hadn’t had your daily dose of the bleeding obvious, here’s a corker of an observation.

Hilary Tilby, LawCare’s chief executive, said […] “Lawyers are, as a rule, high achievers who have high expectations of themselves. They do, therefore, have to be careful that they do not become stressed as a result of trying to live up to those expectations.

Thanks, Hilary. ;-)

Surely the bigger concern is why so many lawyers are suffering with stress in the first place and why more isn’t being done at an earlier stage to combat it (i.e. the LPC or professional skills course)?  Thank goodness I managed to avoid using the phrase “grass roots level” there.


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