The Law Society recently published a report entitled the “Health and wellbeing report 2014”. In July and October of last year, 1517 telephone interviews were conducted with solicitors who held Practising Certificates in England & Wales about different aspects of their working lives.
The main findings of the report were as follows:
Good health: 85 per cent of solicitors reported being in good health, a slight fall from 88 per cent in 2013 but still four percentage points above figures for the working population nationally.
Sick days: On average, those taking time off due to ill-health or injury took 5.7 days, a fall from 6.6 days in 2013.
Work ethic: 39 per cent of solicitors reported going to work when sick leave should have been taken, a fall from 45 per cent in 2013.
Stress levels: 96 per cent of solicitors said they experienced negative stress, with 19 per cent at ‘severe’ or ‘extreme’ levels, a slight increase from 16 per cent in 2013. Workload and client expectations were identified as the most common causes of stress in the research carried out by the Law Society in 2013.
So what can stressed lawyers do to overcome the workplace stress and avoid the potential for long-lasting, and potentially health-ruining mental illness?
One option is to become a locum lawyer; we at BCL Legal place hundreds of lawyers across most legal disciplines into interim roles. Some positions will be offered as fixed term contracts, others on a more traditional “locum” basis where the locum is paid an hourly rate for the work he or she undertakes. Both options have their pros and cons, namely job security versus flexibility.
But for those at the end of their tether an interim role can provide that little respite from the stresses and pains that accompany a permanent role.