A charity offering support and advice to lawyers has reported a drop in the number of case files opened in 2014.

LawCare dealt with 473 cases last year compared with 515 in 2013. More than 1,500 further calls were made or received to follow up the original cases.

Stress accounted for three-quarters of calls, followed by depression (12%) and problems with alcohol (5%).

Of the 297 callers able to identify a specific reason for their problem, 27% pinpointed workload, compared with 22% in 2013, and 20% cited disciplinary issues, compared with 16% the previous year.

Nearly a quarter of those reporting stress came from the general high street/private client practice area (24%), with 22% involved in litigation, 18% in commercial and 10% in conveyancing.

Two-thirds of callers (66%) were female and 34% of callers were trainees or had been qualified five years or less.

More than half (54%) of callers were solicitors in England and Wales. Barristers in England and Wales accounted for 11% of calls, followed by solicitors in Scotland (8%) and trainee solicitors in England and Wales (7%).

While calls to LawCare were down in 2014, chief executive Elizabeth Rimmer said 2013 had been an ‘exceptionally busy year’.

‘What we have seen in 2014 is that more callers have needed ongoing support, with 12% of callers being referred to a supporter, compared to 8% in 2013,' Rimmer added. 'We had more calls about workload and disciplinary problems, reflecting the increasing pressure lawyers are under in the current climate of legal aid cuts, competition and change.   

‘We would like lawyers to get in touch with us sooner when they have a worry or concern, rather than waiting until they are near breaking point as some do.’

LawCare provides free and confidential support and advice to all sectors of the legal profession all year on 0800 279 6888 (free from landlines) and 0808 800 0023 (free from mobiles).