Groups join forces to launch #SupportingSolicitors campaign

Rimmer: Expanding support

A new campaign, #SupportingSolicitors, has been launched to promote the help available to solicitors facing professional and personal challenges.

It goes live today at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.

It has been put together jointly by the Law Society, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, wellbeing charity LawCare, SBA The Solicitors’ Charity – which supports those in serious financial need with grants – and the Solicitors Assistance Scheme, a service best known for helping those facing disciplinary and regulatory issues.

Kayleigh Leonie, who represents the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division on its council and is author of guidance on supporting resilience and wellbeing in the workplace, said: “It is important for all solicitors to know that, no matter what challenges they may encounter during their legal career, they are able to obtain support from someone who understands their unique set of circumstances.

“Whether it is a professional/work-related issue or a personal matter, it is very reassuring to know that there are organisations available to provide solicitors with guidance and support.”

Supporting campaign material provides information and videos introducing each organisation and outlining how they can help.

Meanwhile, LawCare announced today that it is to pilot a new webchat service from 1 July.

Chief executive Elizabeth Rimmer said: “More and more people in the legal community are reaching out to us for support every year, so it is vital we expand our support service.

“We also know that many young people are more likely to seek help online than pick up the phone. Our webchat service will allow anyone working in the legal profession to contact one of our trained team members online for emotional support on any issue that is troubling them.”

Separately, more law firms have signed up to the Mindful Business Charter, under which they pledge to change avoidable working practices that can affect mental health and wellbeing.

The initiative, originally developed by Barclays and law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, sees financial services businesses and law firms collaborate to follow a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods and considerate delegation of tasks.

The other original signatories when it was launched six months ago were Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and law firms Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright and Simmons & Simmons.

The new signatories are Capsticks, CMS, DWF, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Michelmores, Osborne Clarke, Stone King, and Weightmans.

In signing, they pledge to promote a culture of openness about mental wellbeing, ensure responsible business is included as an area of assessment during significant procurement processes, and drive forward the actions and necessary change in support of the principles of the charter.

Philip Aiken, managing director of Barclays, said: “It’s hugely exciting to see the number of law firms signing up to the Mindful Business Charter continue to grow.

“This goes to show that many organisations want to find ways in which they can support their colleagues in pursuing careers which are sustainable for the long term and, whist the Mindful Business Charter has its origins in the legal industry, this will also be relevant to many organisations beyond the legal profession.”

Richard Foley, senior partner of Pinsent Masons, said the charter has “already started to promote a cultural shift in our daily working practices. Small adjustments have the potential to dramatically improve our day-to-day professional life and support mental wellbeing”.

Charles Penny, senior partner at Addleshaw Goddard, added: “It is great to see the momentum building behind the Mindful Business Charter. We have always taken the view that we will achieve far more in this space if we work together and it is this collaborative approach that sets the charter apart.”

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