A pioneering online wellbeing course has been launched to encourage lawyers to “work sensibly” and avoid becoming “so stressed out they can’t cope”.
The first course of its kind aimed specifically at lawyers, it has been developed by Central Law Training (CLT) in partnership with mental health charity LawCare, which will receive a cut for every course sold.
Mark Solon, director of CLT, said the company had been delivering black-letter law training for 20 years, but this was its first course about the lawyer as a person.
“We are trying to get people to see that it’s not just about billable hours and avoiding professional negligence, but working more effectively and enjoying what you do.
“The course features lawyers talking about their own experiences, which again I think is a first. Lawyers rarely say they are so stressed out, they can’t cope. Part of this is making them aware of what they’re doing and what can happen.
“The aim of this course is to get people to work sensibly. It is designed for all lawyers – from City firms to sole practitioners.”
Elizabeth Rimmer, chief executive of LawCare, said a survey published earlier this month by the Junior Lawyers Division, which found that one in 15 junior lawyers had experienced suicidal thoughts, made “grim reading” but presented an opportunity for people to take action.
“Education and training are so important for prevention. If lawyers understand why they are susceptible to stress, anxiety and depression, it puts them in a much better place to do something about it.
“If you’re not well and happy, you won’t be able to do the best work for your clients.”
Ms Rimmer said her contribution to the course focused on understanding the signs of stress and the pressures of working in the law.
“The way lawyers think tends towards perfectionism and you have to quite pessimistic at times, looking at worst case scenarios.
“Lawyers often spent too much time thinking how they could have done better and there’s a fear of failure, which can prevent people from asking for help. Lawyers are trained to solve other people’s problems, not their own.
“This course is the first of its kind, but I’m sure there will be many more.”