The Junior Lawyers Division’s resilience and wellbeing survey is now in its third year and engagement with the survey has grown year on year.
This year’s survey was open between January and March and received 1,803 responses.
The 2019 research shows that over 93% of respondents reported feeling stressed in their role the month before completing the survey, with almost a quarter of those individuals being severely/extremely stressed.
For the purpose of the survey, stress was defined as being under too much emotional or mental pressure.
The survey also showed that the key stress factors for junior lawyers are high workload, client demands/expectations, lack of support and ineffective management.
Over 77% of respondents said that their firm could do more to support stress at work.
Kayleigh Leonie, a Law Society Council member for the JLD, prepared the survey and commented:
’The JLD is overwhelmed by the number of junior lawyers who have responded to this year’s resilience and wellbeing survey. Whilst the number of junior lawyers experiencing negative stress at work remains very high, it is very concerning that one in 15 junior lawyers (6.4%) experienced suicidal thoughts, in the month leading up to taking the survey.
’It is also disappointing to see that the number of junior lawyers experiencing mental ill-health has increased significantly from last year, with nearly half (48%) experiencing mental ill-health in the month leading up to the survey.
’Despite the positive efforts being made by some employers, it is clear that more considered action needs to be taken, to support the wellbeing of junior lawyers in the profession.
’The JLD is very grateful for the support it continues to receive from individuals, firms and other organisations across the legal profession and hopes that we can all work together to tackle these important issues.’
Mental health in the workplace
Around half of respondents said that they had experienced mental-ill health (whether formally diagnosed or not) in the month before completing the survey and under 20% of those individuals had made their employer aware of it.
As a result of mental ill-health, one in fifteen respondents stated that they had experienced suicidal thoughts, 74% reported disrupted sleep and just under 60% report a negative impact on their physical health (feeling sick, chest pains).
Over 87% felt that their employer could do more to provide help, guidance and support in relation to mental health in the workplace.
This guidance is currently being reviewed to incorporate the feedback received through the survey and a revised copy will be released later this year.
The JLD is acutely aware of the pressure that our members are under. If any JLD members would like support in relation to stress or other related conditions, please contact Law Care in confidence for more information.
Further sources of advice, support and useful information are available on the JLD website.