A big increase in bullying-related problems contributed to a further rise in the number of legal professionals contacting LawCare for emotional support last year.
A total of 677 people, up nearly 10% from the 616 in 2018, sought help from the support charity in 2019 through its helpline, webchat, email and peer support services, making over 900 contacts.
The most common problems cited were stress (26%) and depression (12%), which respectively comprised 27% and 17% in 2018. However the number of lawyers contacting the charity about bullying jumped from 47 callers in 2018 to 80 last year – now accounting for 12% of all contacts. Two thirds of those who contacted LawCare about this issue said they were being bullied by a manager or superior.
The majority of callers to the helpline were women (67%, compared with 65% in 2018), and 53% (up from 45%) of all callers were trainees or pupils, or had been qualified less than five years, and a further 5% were law students.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, commented: "We spent 304 hours providing support on the phone last year, answering a call every two and a half hours. Last year also saw the launch of our new webchat service, enabling us to provide support to more people.
"The biggest trend we’ve noticed is the number of people contacting us about bullying and harassment, which is now one of the top three issues people contact us about, possibly because of a lot more attention on this issue in the media over the past couple of years. We will be undertaking more detailed research later this year to discover exactly how the culture of law is impacting on wellbeing and mental health, and we hope to use this to drive change in legal workplaces."