Stress for lawyers has always been present, but a recent UK survey of over 1000 employees found that they lie second as the most stressed professionals in the country.
There is little to suggest that the results would not be similar in other jurisdictions where such findings are almost commonplace.
The survey, undertaking by the insurer Protectivity, found that 63 per cent of respondents active in the legal industry report being stressed on a daily basis, the most stressed being those in the 35-44 bracket
Women also tended to be more stressed than their male counterparts.
Human Resources was the most stressed profession.
The Wellbeing Repor
The UK survey coincides with the latest findings of the Law Society Junior Lawyers Division’s (JLD) annual resilience and wellbeing report,which showed that one in 15 junior lawyers have experiences suicidal thoughts.
Of more than 1,800 respondents, 48 per cent of the respondents said they had experienced mental ill-health in the last month, which is 10 per cent up from the 2018 findings.
A quarter of those experienced ‘severe/extreme’ levels of stress.
The stress levels of lawyers is something that increasingly occupies the minds of both firms and Law Societies or Bar Associations.
A recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald reported a successful lawyer who had increasingly experienced panic attacks over his work.
As a lawyer in my 30s, I was confronted several times a day with new crises, and would react,” he recalls. “Simply waking up in the morning triggered it, and realising I had another 10 or 12 hours ahead of decision-making, where people were relying on me, where I had to reach my own and others’ expectations.”
One of the reasons for some degree of optimism is the fact that the issues are being discussed at all. For decades, the profession has generally overlooked such issues, including drug and alcohol abuse and similar, working on the basis that it was all part of being a lawyer.