I am often asked why I left law to train law firms in Mental Health First Aid. In aid of U.K. Mental Health Awareness Week, I would like to share my story.
The truth is, many lawyers are confronted with the same career paradox that I was: they are high achievers who have made the cut, they have skills in abundance, thrive under pressure, problem-solve and add real value to clients.
Yet they are still human beings with lives of their own. The challenges of juggling an intense workload, managing relationships, caring for family and other life stresses have never been more apparent than during the pandemic. COVID-19 has put mental health on everyone’s agenda. Read the full article for Legal Week here.
The legal profession is widely known for attracting high achievers, those with excellent grades, drive, attention to detail and resilience. There is no denying that the legal industry is built on extremes; think the A-Type personalities driving Magic Circle revenues north of a billion pounds a year to the cut above intellect which sees only a third of student barristers securing pupillages.
It is with irony that these stellar qualities can also be many lawyers’ and barristers’ Achilles’ heel. For while the high-powered legal industry thrives off outstanding professionals, this same unrelenting standard for excellence can leave legal professionals feeling imbalanced, burnt-out and more vulnerable to mental illness than employees in other industries.
You certainly don’t need me to tell you about the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the legal profession. This crisis has disrupted the workplace like nothing before. As an industry, law firms are scrambling to plan for the post-coronavirus working environment. There is a real danger however that, whilst the physical aspect of returning to work under a ‘new normal’ will be respected, the mental wellbeing of staff may be overlooked. Read the full article for The Law Society Gazette here