Articles From the Team

Handling pressure and stress

As the world continues to wake up from the worst recession in living memory, the regions commercial law firms seem to be getting busier and busier. The problem seems to be particularly acute in real estate, corporate and finance teams as businesses continue to try and exploit opportunities to grow and develop. The net result is the Partners and Solicitors alike are under massive pressure from clients, working longer hours and being put under more stress.

The solution to this problem is that teams need to recruit. This is where BCL Legal comes in. As the largest legal recruiter outside of London we are working alongside the UK’s leading commercial law firms to try and help find suitable solicitors. As our clients get busier, so do we. As our clients are under pressure, so are we.

We counsel our clients to be flexible in their recruitment and to take a realistic view of the market. We ask our clients to consider things that are really important, such as personality, enthusiasm and desire to do the job. The recession naturally curtailed the opportunities for solicitors to secure positions in corporate, banking and commercial property law. Therefore, those of our clients who are being most successful in their recruitment are often those that are being the most flexible in their recruitment.

In all honesty the recession also curtailed the opportunities of those who wanted to work in legal recruitment. There are very few legal recruitment consultants with 1-5 years experience in the market place. As BCL Legal has grown we have learned that the most important attribute when we are recruiting is personality. Knowledge can be learned and skills can be taught, but desire and attitude are very difficult to instil in someone that does not come with those attributes.

Unsurprisingly some of the biggest success stories in our business in 2014 are people who have joined us with little or no recruitment experience. People with the right personality make every effort to learn, throwing themselves into things and going the extra mile.

So what does this have to do with handling stress and pressure. Increasing workloads inevitably increase stress and pressure. Recruiting someone new helps to relieve that. Recruiting someone new that you need to train and develop, doesn’t necessarily relieve these things in the short term. In fact it can be quite the contrary, as a Manager becomes responsible for things that someone else is doing. Inevitably some things go wrong and need smoothing over. This can lead to an increase in pressure and stress.

The plus side is that as people learn and develop their skills, things get easier. It is fantastic to watch someone grow into their job and really start to shine. Finally you end up with a skilled, hard working and very loyal employee.

In the interim it becomes imperative that the Manager is able to deal with their stress and pressure. You cannot direct it at the new employee – they are still learning. So what do you do? Some people run, go to the gym, play team sports etc. Others can unwind in front of the television or with a glass (or several) of something medicinal. Quite recently I have begun to read sporting autobiographies. In themselves, these do not help! However, it was interesting to recently read one written by arguably England’s most famous number 10 (rugby not football). A man who quite clearly struggled with elements of obsessiveness throughout his career, cranking up the pressure he felt in all situations. His obsessiveness meant that distraction activities such as television didn’t work. He barely drank and the physical activity he was doing was the cause of the stress. Interestingly he seems to have been able to alleviate the pressure by taking realistic stock of situations. Physically writing down his goals and assessing how close he was to achieving them.

Generally speaking he was closer than he thought. The same could apply to you.

For more information please contact BCL Legal or email

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