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Advice on mindfulness, resilience and relaxation exercises will be made available to students at BPP University Law School to help them cope with study pressures and the transition from legal education to a career as a lawyer.
The initiative is in response to increased awareness within the legal profession of the importance of good mental health and wellbeing, and the realisation that work-related stress among young lawyers is continuing to rise.
From the end of this month the Law School will provide students with access to specially commissioned* audio meditations that they will be able to listen to on their smartphones. Topics covered will include ‘balancing work and life’, ‘self-care’, and ‘getting a good night’s sleep’. Online learning modules on issues such as ‘controlling anxiety’ and ‘mindfulness on the go’ will also be available to students through the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE), the gateway BPP uses to deliver learning materials to students via the web.
And Jeremy Connick, a partner at Clifford Chance and an advocate for better mental awareness across the legal sector, will launch a speaker programme to help students appreciate the importance of staying aware of their own mental health when they arrive in the workplace.
Working with The Unwind Experience - Europe's first ever surround-sound guided meditation experience - BPP will also trial turning some of its classrooms in London (Holborn) and Leeds into pop-up meditation studios. Students will be taken through guided meditation sessions and taught about the direct benefits of mindfulness. If successful, and student interest is as high as anticipated, the initiative will be rolled out across the university.
BPP will also introduce new learning technology designed to help students not only maximise their learning success but also support their mental wellbeing. Students and tutors will have access to data that will help identify where study patterns may be impacting on a student’s health and wellbeing, encouraging students to work smarter, not harder. This will enable the Law School to work with individual students to review their study plans and to ensure they are not risking their wellbeing, which may not be evident when solely based on their performance in class.
Jeremy Connick, partner at Clifford Chance and a TLC Lion*, says that “There is definitely a growing interest among students around mindfulness and meditation but too many still see admitting to stress as a sign of weakness. Helping students recognise and deal with stress and pressure will help them to thrive as trainees and junior lawyers in the future. Understanding one’s own mental wellbeing can also really help you understand the needs of others too.
“I think it’s really important for all law school students to appreciate how vital it is that they take control of their own careers and make decisions that will help them achieve the right life-balance for their own priorities”.
Jo-Anne Pugh, Director of Programme Design and Development, BPP Law School, adds that “We are determined to develop outstanding wellbeing and mental health services. This series of initiatives will ensure we have consistent content and resources across all our campuses.
“It wasn’t that long ago when mental wellbeing in the law was barely discussed. The profession has moved on and all law schools must also do the same. Our new programmes will introduce students to self-reflection, wellbeing and emotional intelligence. But this is more than a series of new modules. Strategies for good mental wellness will be embedded within all our legal education and training to help prepare and support students for both study and their later working lives”.
Research** published earlier this year by the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society showed that stress and mental health issues among young lawyers was continuing to rise.
Almost half (48%) said that they had experienced poor mental health – a 10% increase from the year before. The Law Society research also found that 93% had felt stressed, with almost a quarter of them feeling severely or extremely stressed. Over three quarters (77%) said that they thought their employer could do more to support stress at work.
Last month (October), LawCare - the legal mental health charity - said it had appointed 14 “champions” to raise awareness of good mental health and wellbeing.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare said:
‘We are delighted to hear that BPP students will be taught mindfulness, which has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. It is vital that law students are taught to look after their wellbeing and recognise that good mental health will support them to have productive and rewarding legal careers. Working life in the law can be pressured and being equipped to manage this is important.’
* Guided meditations have been developed by The Unwind Experience in conjunction with BPP
**TLC Lions are igniting emotion back in the corporate world through storytelling, their speakers are ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Supporting over 90 of the world's largest companies in over 56 countries, TLC Lions are on a mission to create more inclusive and emotionally engaged workforces.
The speakers (Lions) share powerful yet uplifting sessions that are tailored to clients' Inclusion, Diversity and Wellbeing agendas, bringing emotion to life and encouraging employees to take action.
*** The Law Society / Junior Lawyers Division’s resilience and wellbeing survey was open between January and March 2019 and received 1,803 responses.
For more information
Mark Cooper, Partner, Gerard Kelly & Partners on 07879 407 283
OR Rosie Copple, Brand and Communications Manager, BPP Professional Education on 07818 568 672
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