A charity offering support and advice to lawyers has reported a 36% yearly increase in cases opened in 2013.

LawCare dealt with 515 cases last year compared with 378 in 2012, making it the second busiest year in its history.

More than 1,800 further calls were made or received to follow up the original cases.

By far the most common issue callers reported was stress, which accounted for 74% of the calls. This was followed by depression (12%) and problems with alcohol (6%).

The results chime with a survey completed at the start of 2013 which found stress was rising among lawyers. Respondents blamed overwork, poor management, lack of appreciation and feeling isolated or unsupported.

LawCare said it has long held a theory that law is a profession which causes those starting out to turn to alcohol to unwind, only to result in addiction later in careers. Of calls related to alcohol, 71% involved people those qualified for at least 10 years, LawCare said. 

Of the two-thirds of callers able to identify a specific reason for their problem, almost a quarter pinpointed workload, with a further 19% citing bullying. Financial problems (17%) and disciplinary issues (16%) were the next most common.

The proportion of callers reporting bullying was higher than ever before, rising from 14% in each of the last two years.

Three-fifths of all callers were female and 40% of callers were trainees or had been qualified five years or less.

As regards practice areas, 23% of calls came from those in high street or private client firms, with 22% involved in litigation, 18% in commercial and 11% in criminal law.

Almost two-thirds of calls came from solicitors in England and Wales, with barristers in England and Wales accounting for 11%.

LawCare can be called for free any day of the year on 0800 279 6888.