This year’s Junior Lawyer Division [JLD] Annual Conference, which held on 8 April in London, hosted a keynote address by the Rt Hon Lord Justice Hickinbottom, who spoke positively about what can be achieved as a lawyer. President of the Law Society, Robert Bourns, also addressed the conference, which included a number of breakout sessions and a panel discussion.
The highlight of this year’s JLD event was the presentation of a survey they conducted into members’ resilience and wellbeing, with a focus on stress and mental health in the workplace.
The results were presented by Chetna Bhatt of Being Lawyers, and the headlines are: over 93 per cent of respondents had experienced stress in the month before completing the survey, with 26 per cent of those individuals being severely/extremely stressed; the key stress factors for junior lawyers are high workload, lack of support, client demands/expectations and ineffective management, while 73 per cent said that their firm could do more to support stress at work.
Looking specifically at mental health, over 25 per cent of respondents said that they had experienced a mental health problem in the month before, and fewer than 24 per cent of those individuals had made their employer aware of it. Over 73 per cent of respondents stated that their employer did not provide any help, guidance or support to employees in relation to mental health in the workplace or that they did not know whether their employer did. Over 50 per cent felt that their organisation could do more to provide help, guidance and support in relation to mental health in the workplace.
“We followed the results with a presentation about why our service is so important, which was appropriate given the survey results,” says Ann Charlton, LawCare Coordinator for England and Wales. “I told the audience what we do and how we do it and the message was well received. It was a really worthwhile conference, both from our prospective and the JLD’s, as it let the attendees know what to expect from their profession and how to deal with some of the challenges.”
Download the JLD survey here: http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/Uploads/g/x/g/jld-resilience-and-wellbeing-survey-report-2017.pdf