The number of legal professionals contacting the charity LawCare for emotional support continues to rise year on year, with 738 legal professionals seeking help in 2020, a rise of 9% on the previous year.
LawCare, an independent charity offering emotional support, information and training to the legal community in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, received 964 calls, webchats, and emails to its support service in 2020. The most common problems cited were stress (23%), anxiety (15%), bullying (10%), depression (10%) and worries about career development (10%).
The number of people contacting LawCare experiencing anxiety has seen the biggest increase – from 45 people in 2019 to 111 last year.
The majority of those who contacted the support service were women (69%). 50% were trainees/pupils, or had been qualified less than five years, and a further 6% were law students.
From March 2020, 34% of all calls, emails and webchats to the LawCare support service had a COVID element. Of these, the most common issues reported were:
- Worsening of existing mental health issues (13%)
- Not being permitted to work from home (12%)
- Struggling to adapt to WFH due to poor supervision, procedures, or provision of equipment (11%)
- Feeling isolated (11%)
- Being overloaded with work, typically because colleagues had been furloughed (9%)
There were also practical issues related to childcare, relationship strain, redundancy or inability to find a job (including job offers made before COVID being withdrawn) and financial concerns. LawCare also heard from legal professionals being asked to work while furloughed.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said:
“Our support service continues to grow and help more people year on year. 2020 was a challenging year for most, we are not surprised that anxiety increased at a time of great worry and uncertainty. In addition, our website traffic increased by 50% and we allocated more peer supporters and funded more counselling sessions last year than ever before.
“We expect demand to continue to grow in 2021 as legal professionals continue to navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19.”
LawCare’s full report is available at www.lawcare.org.uk/impact