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Two-thirds of lawyers experiencing burnout

Nearly two-thirds of legal professionals have experienced burnout in the past 12 months, according to research that finds workloads and challenges around balancing work and home life are increasing stress levels.

A survey conducted by legal attraction, retention and recruitment consultancy Realm Recruit found that an unmanageable caseload was the top stressor experienced by those who suffered work-related burnout (57%), followed by lack of work-life balance (42%), bad management (39%) and poor or unfair pay (32%).

Sixty-two per cent of those surveyed said they had experienced burnout from their work in the past year, while a further 21% said they often feel stressed.

One in three (31%) said they do not feel supported by their firm. Twenty-nine per cent felt supported, while 30% felt “partly” supported.

Less than a quarter of lawyers (23%) said their employer looks after their mental health and wellbeing “very well”, and nearly a third reported their firm’s efforts did not support their wellbeing well, or not at all.

The report says: “Unfortunately, in the legal profession, traditionally characterised by punishing workloads and long hours, stress and poor mental health are common. In the last few years, as mental health has become an important issue more generally within society, law firms have invested more than ever in this area and have taken steps to look after their employees. Despite this progress, our research revealed that mental health issues remain prevalent.”

Mental health first aiders were the most common wellbeing measure offered by firms, with more than half of those polled stating that these were available currently. Private healthcare and free or subsidised gym membership were also offered by more than half of legal employers.

More than two-thirds thought their firm should offer paid wellbeing days, and 53% said subsidised gym membership should be available to employees.

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