SBA is providing and signposting support for junior lawyers

SBA, The Solicitors' Charity, is dedicated to supporting solicitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has previously launched a COVID-19 support hub and a £1 million Personal Hardship Fund, and recently joined a webinar to highlight how they are specifically supporting junior lawyers during the pandemic. 

The webinar was joined by SBA CEO Nick Gallagher, LawCare Chief Executive Elizabeth Rimmer, newly-qualified solicitor Mollie Ferguson, who is also part of the Law Society's Junior Lawyers Division executive committee, and Linda Lee, Chair of the Solicitors Assistance Scheme

The discussion centred on the difficulties faced by junior lawyers in regards to gaps between training contracts without furlough, working from home, networking and feeling pressure about their careers. 

"If their original firm won't take them back and furlough them, they've essentially fallen in a gap with no income," Nick Gallagher said. "Our Personal Hardship Fund has been designed specifically to help plug the gaps in the Government scheme and ensure we help as many solicitors as possible in their time of need."

Mollie Ferguson highlighted the impact of lockdown on junior lawyers: "Many junior lawyers will have never worked from home...One of the key points is losing the ability to run quick questions" which will undoubtedly have a "huge impact on the support available to junior lawyers." 

The Solicitors Assistance Scheme, chaired by Linda Lee, said that junior lawyers could call them with "regulatory and disciplinary concerns... anonymously if they wish." She emphasised that "there is no shame in reaching out for help."

Elizabeth Rimmer anticipates that more people will get in touch when people return to work after the lockdown is lifted. She said, "Be kind to yourselves and don't expect perfection with everything you're having to deal with."

The webinar offers an open and honest discussion about what junior lawyers are dealing with at this unprecedented time, and offers helpful and practical suggestions on where to find support. Organisations such as SBA, LawCare, the Solicitors Assistance Scheme and the Law Society's Junior Lawyers Division are focused on helping junior lawyers and have a number of different options listed on their respective websites.