The head of the Law Society has said law firms have a “collective responsibility” to fix the legal sector’s mental health crisis.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce has called for a “change of culture” in the legal sector, to prioritise mental health in the workplace.
The comments come amid concerns over poor mental health in the legal profession, following the release of new figures showing 69 per cent of lawyers had experience poor mental health in the past year.
The research found younger lawyers, aged between 26 and 39, had the longest working hours and that they were also most likely to have experienced burnout.
Women working the legal sector were also more likely to have experienced burnout than their male colleagues, the figures show.
Boyce said that while the “onus is often on the individual to fix their mental ill health,” everyone in the legal sector has a “collective responsibility” to ensure working conditions are not contributing to a mental health crisis.
“We need to start talking about how some working practices contribute to an increased risk of poor mental health and how we can work together to change things,” Boyce said.
“Tackling excessive working hours and workloads, as well as ensuring better supervision and support, especially for younger lawyers, are essential.”
Suzanna Eames, chair of the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division, said: “Report after report has demonstrated that the overall culture in law is damaging to many junior lawyers, leading to mental health problems such as burnout, depression, anxiety and (in the worst cases) self-harm and suicidal thoughts.”