TCLA's Mental Health In The Legal Profession Survey 2021

Jaysen

Founder, TCLA
Staff member
TCLA Moderator
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  • Feb 17, 2018
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    Hey everyone!

    Today, we release the findings of our Mental Health In The Legal Profession Survey 2021 (best viewed on a desktop/laptop), our first annual survey to better understand a) the mental health concerns facing aspiring lawyers and b) how law firms can support the mental health of incoming trainee solicitors.

    Our survey found:
    • 86% of respondents 'sometimes', 'frequently', or 'always' experienced issues with their mental health over the past month
    • 93% of respondents 'sometimes', 'frequently', or 'always' experienced issues with their mental health over the past year
    • 84% 'sometimes', 'frequently', or 'always', have/had concerns over their ability to manage the stress of a training contract
    The most popular concerns regarding a training contract included:
    1. Imposter syndrome in respect of the work
    2. Lack of time for self-care, including exercise and sleep
    3. Making a mistake in the workplace
    4. Imposter syndrome in respect of the social environment
    Respondents frequently cited the pressure to prove a firm's investment in themselves was 'worth it', as well as the overwhelming fear of not being good enough for the demands of a prestigious law firm.

    Many respondents feared that mental health issues would be seen as a 'weakness' by law firms and 'inhibit their progression', forcing them to avoid disclosure, which would lead them to 'burn out'. Our survey found that:
    • 68% 'strongly disagreed' or 'somewhat disagreed' that they would be comfortable discussing their mental health concerns with graduate recruitment at a law firm
    • 67% 'strongly disagreed' or 'somewhat disagreed' that they would be comfortable discussing their mental health concerns with the lawyers at a law firm
    Other respondents felt that supervisors didn't appreciate the importance of sleep and exercise. They also struggled with comparing themselves to others, particularly when they came from a different ethnic or socioeconomic background.

    The most popular solutions identified included:
    1. Changes to the workplace
    2. Check-ins with supervisors
    3. 1 on 1 support such as counselling
    4. Peer support, such as mental health groups within law firms
    5. Live training, such as mental health and resilience training workshops
    Ultimately, respondents wanted 'more than mental health awareness weeks'. They wanted a normalisation of mental health discussions, particularly from lawyers within the firm. They wanted senior lawyers to change the perception of 'I had it tough, so you must too', and to have supervisors receive more mental health training, such that they actively check-in to see if trainee solicitors are okay.

    Speaking honestly, I could have improved some of the questions/better limited the responses, but it's a work in progress!

    Best,

    Jaysen