As the Covid-19 crisis began to unfold, the LLI recognised the pressing need to address lawyer wellbeing. Even pre-Covid, the legal industry was grappling with a mental health epidemic. The triggers for this are complex, but include for example:
- Work stress, exacerbated by the billable hours model
- Loneliness and competitiveness at work
- Financial pressure, particularly for young lawyers burdened with student debt
- Anxieties caused by digital transformation
- Perfectionist personalities and pessimistic mindsets
However, despite mounting evidence that lawyers are struggling with their mental health, the subject remains taboo. Therefore, the LLI sought to destigmatise this issue in our Call for Action (see below). Led by Dr Roger Strathausen, we invited members of the legal industry to share their thoughts openly in our survey, with the ultimate goal of increasing lawyer wellbeing. See our initial survey invitation here. Afterwards, we heard from different professionals, for instance lawyers, legal project managers and those working in legal operations.
To find out more about our motivation for this project, including detailed information on the current mental health crisis, see our initial Call for Action.
Lawyer wellbeing survey results
- And what did our survey reveal? Above all, our respondents agreed that:
- Firstly, mental health among lawyers is a socially relevant topic that deserves greater attention (88% agreed)
- Secondly, billing by the hour generates stress (100% agreed)
- Thirdly, traditional hierarchies in the profession aggravate pressure and stress (88% agreed)
- Fourthly, mental health issues among lawyers have a negative impact on business performance (100% agreed)
In addition, almost all respondents agreed that mental health issues are still stigmatized in the legal industry – significantly, people do not want to admit that they are affected.
For a full breakdown of the results, including more insights and the methodology used, see our Survey Findings below. In conclusion, lawyer wellbeing remains a crucial issue and the LLI will therefore be conducting further work in this area.