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Stress and poor emotional health be it stress, anxiety, low mood, self esteem (or a mixture of all) are the inevitable consequences of constantly working to very high targets with ever diminishing or no administrative support.
I am quite sure it applies to all areas of law. Legal services have been so commoditised and 'factory' processed over the last 10 years that it is inevitable in order to return a profit margin (however small) that work volumes and targets must go up. It is not at all uncommon now for a young fee earner to be expected to carry a case load to 200 or even 300 files. To be pulled monthly into an interview and drilled down on their figures. Where is the money? Why have you not hit your target? It is ridiculous and inevitably creates poor mental health.
It is not just the youngsters and unfortunately most people of all ages in Legal Services experience serious stress issues and at some point poor emotional/mental health.
Unfortunately this is not going to change and there is very little companies can do to change this. Lord Jackson may have made substantial in roads to reduce the cost of legal services but an unintended consequence of his reforms was to put way too much work volume on too few shoulders.
It is not an exaggeration to suggest that up to 30% of employees at any one time will be taking anti depressants and/or anti anxiety prescribed medications. This does not make them weak and neither is it shameful. Nor does it necessarily reduce their overall work performance or technical skills. It is simply an inevitable consequence of the present system and volume of work caused by ever increasing pressure in ever reducing costs margins.
I do not know why this scenario or the response to the survey is a surprise to anyone. How can anyone in this environment not realise how their teams are affected?

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