Lawyers experiencing high stress levels is not something new and it impacts how well they are able to perform at work particularly when the cause of the problem is workplace culture.
For as long as I can remember it is well-known that when embarking on a legal career you will have to work long hours and deal with colleagues who take out their stress on you. As a junior lawyer or paralegal this can be very confusing because it can impact your confidence, judgment and impede the learning process.
Earlier this year, the SRA launched a consultation on proposals to new rules on health and wellbeing in the workplace, which it believes will have a knock-on effect by minimising the risks posed to clients and the public.
The proposals include:
introducing obligations on firms and individuals to treat colleagues fairly; and
giving the SRA powers to take action to manage risks arising from an individual solicitor’s health issues at any point, including at admission stage, and through conditions on a practising certificate or registration.
The new consultation will set out the new proposals in detail and how the SRA will tackle the issues faced by solicitors experiencing poor workplace culture.
As research into the mental health of solicitors continues to be carried out, we are seeing the figures for the numbers of solicitors rising year on year, arguably made worse by the effects of the pandemic and continued pressure faced by firms.
It will be interesting to see what the process will be when a solicitor experiences mental health issues and what action the SRA will take to enforce the obligations on firms to ensure the wellbeing of their staff is treated as a priority.
The consultation is open until Friday 27 May after which, the SRA will review the feedback submitted and publish details of any further proposals.