Legal mental health and wellbeing charity LawCare has joined up with academics to launch a new free online resource on emotional competency and professional resilience. The interactive tool, which is live from today, has been developed alongside experts from the University of Sheffield and Open University. 

Fit for Law is part of an on-going project to promote psychologically and emotionally healthier ways of working within law and was developed based on evidence from focus groups with legal professionals across the UK and Ireland. The course takes two to four hours in total to complete but is broken down into smaller sections. It includes videos from legal professionals discussing wellbeing issues as well as a range of interactive activities. 

Elizabeth Rimmer, chief executive of LawCare, said: ‘We know from our work in supporting lawyers for over 20 years how difficult it is for lawyers to admit they are struggling with the pressures of work  - which often leads them to seek help when they are nearing crisis.  

elizabeth rimmer

Elizabeth Rimmer, chief executive of LawCare

‘We want to change this. Providing legal professionals with resources to enable them to understand and develop key emotional competencies such as emotional self-awareness, self-reflection and better strategies for emotional self-regulation will equip them more effectively for practice, enhance their wellbeing and potentially reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.’ 

Dr Emma Jones, senior lecturer in law at the University of Sheffield, explained the course being launched focuses on ‘managing and understanding yourself’ and offers legal professionals practical tips, to help them in developing healthier working practices to enhance their wellbeing. A further course on ‘working with others’ and a tool kit for employers, to encourage positive organisational and cultural change in the legal workplace, are also being developed. 

The resources are available to everyone studying law or working in the legal profession in the UK and Ireland and could be used as CPD in some jurisdictions. 

Issues around wellbeing and mental health in the legal profession have come to the fore in recent months, with firms training staff specifically to deal with mental health issues and LawCare appointing ‘champions’ from among the leading practices in the country. Lawyers are described as amongst the most stressed people in the workforce, with particular concern about the hours required of junior lawyers who have recently entered the profession.