In-house solicitors are ‘sleepwalking’ into a wellbeing crisis, research by a specialist consultancy claims.
It warns that in-house lawyers mostly work in small teams, lack infrastructure to support their roles and ‘soak up’ pressures placed on them by colleagues with their own stresses to manage.
Respondents to the research conducted by LBC Wise Counsel were asked to rate the importance and applicability of various aspects of wellbeing in the workplace, such as workload, policies and attitudes.
Respondents felt that any permanent increase in their workload would have a serious impact on their wellbeing. Lawyers also felt that they were not encouraged to raise their wellbeing concerns, even though they considered them important.
LBC Wise Counsel chief executive Paul Gilbert said the in-house sector is ‘sleepwalking into a crisis where some people are being significantly damaged and many more are being undermined. If these were physical injuries caused by machines in factories, the businesses concerned would be shut down and directors prosecuted. I do not see a distinction just because it is a mental health injury’.
Gilbert urged in-house lawyers to get better at managing their environments but said general counsel had to take a lead, calling it ‘unacceptable to inflict such harm and inexcusable to let it continue’.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers (pictured) said: ‘Law can be a demanding career. Many of us are drawn to the intellectual challenge and thrive on the high pressure that the work entails, but we need to put our health and wellbeing first. Solicitors experiencing stress or other sickness at work should talk to their manager about it.’
The results of the health and wellbeing section of the Law Society PC holder survey will be published later this month.