New research from LawCare has revealed a “dramatic increase” in the number of legal professionals reporting feeling concerned about their career.
The mental health charity for legal professionals in the UK’s 2022 impact report shows that nearly a quarter (22%) of people contacting them for support were primarily concerned about their career in the law. They describe this as a “dramatic increase” from just over 8% in 2021.
For the first time, the number of people with career concerns equalled the number of legal professionals seeking help because of stress (also 22%).
Lawyers are encountering problems early on
60% of the people who contacted LawCare for support across 2022 were trainees or pupils or had been qualified less than five years. LawCare say this trend, which largely reflects last year’s findings, suggests junior legal professionals are “still not getting the emotional support they need in their workplace”.
Men’s mental health
LawCare reported a 3% increase in the percentage of contacts from men, which they say “[reflects] the impact of LawCare’s report and work during 2022 to encourage more men in law to seek support for their mental health”.
LawCare’s support service
- LawCare’s support service was contacted 849 times for support in 2022 (an increase of 18 from 2021).
- The charity spent 250 hours talking to callers on the phone.
- The average phone call took 26 minutes – and the longest 93 minutes.
Commenting on the trends, Elizabeth Rimmer, Chief Executive of LawCare, said:
“The number of people who contacted us with career concerns now equals the number of people getting in touch about stress.
This willingness to question their life in the law may be partly a response to the pandemic: legal professionals could be reflecting on what they want from life and work and be less willing to stay in careers or workplaces that don’t meet their needs and expectations and could be undermining their mental health.
There were a wide range of career concerns raised, from struggles with training to becoming a lawyer to wanting to retire early.
We are also hearing from people who don’t see law as a lifelong career. We anticipate that in 2023 the number of people contacting us with career concerns may grow as the tough economic climate takes its toll.”