The law is a demanding profession. Common are excessive workloads, long hours, stringent deadlines and rules, worry of mistakes and some pretty unpleasant employers to work for. It is not unique in that, as many people in many different careers face challenges and difficulties. However, the law tends to have a macho attitude to the stress and long hours lawyers can find themselves working, sometimes it being worn as a badge of honour.
Lawcare is a charity set up to help lawyers deal with mental health issues and to encourage positive working practises and environments in the legal profession. It carried out a survey of lawyers and the findings are disturbing. Given the working pressures of the legal profession, it is perhaps to be expected that there are a number of people who are suffering from mental health issues and overcoming difficulties. However, the survey shows that the amount of lawyers suffering from mental health issues is huge.
In the past 12 months, more than two thirds of lawyers have experienced mental ill health problems. That is a staggeringly high statistic and a worrying one, both for the lawyers involved and clients. Is a lawyer suffering mental health problems best placed to be carrying out your legal work?
If you do use a lawyer, or are thinking of using a lawyer, bear in mind whether the person you are dealing with is coping with the work you want them to do and whether they are coping generally. If your lawyer is difficult to get hold of, it suggests that they may have too much work on to get to your file or even worse, they are putting off dealing with your file perhaps because it is difficult or more challenging than other work that needs to be done.
During the pandemic, the conveyancing sector of the legal profession has seen a boom. It was initially feared that the housing market would grind to a halt and that there would be vast redundancies in businesses connected to the housing market. However, furlough and the reduction in stamp duty meant that the housing market went into overdrive with people looking to make great stamp duty savings whilst the rates were reduced. Conveyancers have been working flat out for the best part of 18 months. Working long hours and weekends has been commonplace. It is not surprising if many have suffered mental health or burnout during this period or will suffer further down the line.
The main thing to take away from this is to be aware that all may not be well with the lawyer dealing with your case. You will never really know what demands your lawyer is having to cope with and what impact that is having on the service you are receiving. It is another reason as to why carrying out your own debt recovery is worth investing it.
Keeping control of basic legal work can enable you to keep things moving along and avoid delays caused by a lawyer who might not be coping or dealing with your file properly.