Lawyers Stress Levels are Rising
Three-quarters of lawyers say that their stress levels have risen in the last five years according to survey results by legal charity LawCare.
Questioning just over 1000 solicitors barristers and legal executives they said that the cause of their stress was through being overworked poorly managed under appreciated and feeling isolated or unsupported. Other factors were having targets they couldn’t meet working long hours poor pay and job insecurity.
47% of participants said that at times they had reached breaking point and a small number of people said that they had turned to prescription medicine or illegal drugs. 14% said they take prescription drugs daily or multiple times a week.
31% of participants said they sometimes consumed more than the recommended amount of alcohol. 19% of those people questioned did it weekly 17% were drinking several times a week and 3% everyday.
A large number of respondent’s blamed their stress on their professional environment with 70% saying that their work life was stressful just under half (45%) thought they were unsupported but 45% percent felt that they had a friendly work environment.
Head of the Michael Lewin Solicitors Stress at Work department Richard Coulthard thinks that workload and what is expected of employees these days is what contributes to increasing stress levels.
“There is an expectation at many law firms that solicitors should work long hours far beyond the typical 9-5 and solicitors workloads are at such a level whereby it’s very difficult to manage a case load without working long hours.”
Richard also believes that the current economic environment could be to blame for the participant’s worries about their job security.
“In a competitive legal market many firms are looking to reduce overheads and staffing levels particularly given that many areas of law such as family crime and personal injury potentially face significant challenges going forward. I therefore believe that stress amongst lawyers will continue to rise as workloads in many areas of law continue to increase in order to maintain profitability.”