Helpline open 9am – 5:30pm Monday to Friday
Webchat available: Tuesday & Wednesday 1:15pm-5:30pm and Thursday 9am-1:15pm
At a recent meeting with a mid-size legal firm the managing partner was asked what was the one thing about his legal practice that kept him awake at night.
Expecting the answer to be the threat of cyber-fraud it was a real surprise to hear the most troubling issue was due to long-term stress-related illness.
The managing partner explained. “My top three experienced and highest-earning fee earners are all off long-term sick. This is having a real impact of the rest of the team as we simply cannot deal with the volume of work.”
As a result of the best fee earners being absent from the business the managing partner explained the impact of his perfect storm.
The managing partner’s face was blank when asked what steps the firm was taking to address the issue. When asked about the service of LawCare, the response simply was: “Who are they?”
LawCare is a mental health charity offering a free support service to law firms’ employees and their families. With 40 per cent of contacts due to stress in the workplace, the team at LawCare are perfectly placed to support colleagues deal with stress regardless whether this is work-related or linked to a private matter.
From a bank’s perspective, lending money to a business where the management team takes a proactive approach to the wellbeing of people under their employ gives us more confidence that the culture within the business is strong and situations like the one above can be avoided. This ensures the firm can service their clients and their debts.
For any business, people are the most important element and it is unfortunate to see a firm suffer due to the lack of awareness, about mental health and the support available for employees.
Perhaps the stigma attached to mental health prevents colleagues from sharing their innermost feelings and managers from having open discussions with their teams. The fear of ridicule or rejection is palpable. Lawyers are the protectors, the defenders of just causes – they are expected to be strong and protect their clients’ interests. How then can someone admit to having a mental health issue?
We must give confidence to our teams to tackle mental health. From leaflets and posters in the staff room, to running sessions in conjunction with Mental Health Week or just simply providing a caring and understanding culture is paramount.
When talking to the team at LawCare, they tell me it’s not just stress that causes the problems. They deal with alcoholism, bereavement, bullying, critical illness, divorce – the list goes on.
At some point we all experience life’s challenges. Difficult situations that can overwhelm us and without a trusted adviser, the situation can lead to the feeling of helplessness and confusion.
To signpost the importance of positive mental health, Lloyds Bank is happy to support the LawCare team and is why the Bank works in partnership with Mental Health UK. We are helping to raise awareness through customer conversations and by supporting fundraising activities such as the London Legal Walk.
We hope to continue highlighting the fantastic support services available from LawCare and I believe they can help our law firm customers prosper.
Paul McCluskey is Head of Professional Practices, SME Banking at Lloyds Bank — which looks after firms with annual turnover of up to £25 million. His role is to ensure that the bank's professional practice customers receive the right level of service. This means designing financial products that meet the needs of a changing professional landscape, delivered by specialist relationship managers. Paul is responsible for maintaining the high level of legal sector knowledge among these specialists. He speaks and writes regularly on financial issues affecting the professions — and in particular the legal sector.
LinkedIn - Paul on LinkedIn Web: Professional Practices section of Lloyds Bank
Subscribe to our free quarterly newsletter and updates
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at email@example.com. We will treat your information with respect. More information about our privacy practices is on our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.’