Mental health in the legal sector: Are young lawyers suffering?
The mental health of lawyers is important to avoid burnout or suicide, that is why companies such as Linklaters or Hogan Lovells take care of the mental health and well-being of their workers
Is mental health currently an issue that impacts on young lawyers? Yes.
According to a study by the International Bar Association (IBA) it is concluded that the well-being of lawyers is of "global concern", with depressive thoughts being common among young lawyers.
The study also publishes a discouraging statistic: 10% of lawyers under the age of 30 have had suicidal thoughts due to stress and pressure at work.
Nowadays, mental health in law firms has become increasingly important. Many of the relevant law firms have launched their own initiatives to try to stop depression among their employees.
Yet, despite the awareness of a significant part of the legal sector, there are still lawyers who work 14 to 16 hours a day, causing mental and emotional exhaustion leading to burnout, or even suicide.
Ahsurst, for example, became a signatory to the Mindful Business Charter, a platform whose mission is to change companies' working practices in order to improve workers' mental health.
Law firms' commitment to stop policies that can worsen the health of lawyers has also been rewarded. The City Mental Health Alliance awarded Linklaters last year as an organisation with an excellent rating for employee mental health care.
"Linklaters is committed to ensuring an environment that supports and promotes good mental and physical health and wellbeing. It is part of Linklaters' culture to be open, positive and proactive when it comes to mental health," said Charlie Jacobs, senior partner at Linklaters.
Another example of a firm committed to the mental health of its lawyers is Hogan Lovells. The UK firm teamed up with Unmind, a mental health-focused platform whose beta was used by lawyers in offices in Amsterdam, Birmingham, Brussels, London and Tokyo.
Through Unmind, it analyses and advises lawyers on how to better manage their mental health at work, as well as offering preventative solutions.
"Providing our employees with the right tools at the right time enables them to maintain good mental health practices and prevent ill health, which is critical to overall wellbeing and productivity," explained Julie Thomas, Hogan Lovells' Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing department. "This is part of our wider global commitment to create a working environment where everyone can thrive, and to ensure that we are a company fit for the future.