Why it's important to protect the mental wellbeing of aspiring young lawyers


Addressing workplace wellbeing for young legal professionals

Starting off a career is always hard, but when it comes to young aspiring lawyers, it seems to be more difficult to break-through into the immensely difficult, complicated, and undeniably competitive world of law.

The amount of blood, sweat, and tears put into becoming a junior solicitor or barrister is beyond what many may imagine. Not only does the competition and intense workloads start as a student, but they last into the beginnings of their professional careers as juniors; only this is a time with added pressures of standing out, fighting for a position, and doing a lot of the seniors’ groundwork. The hard work never seems to end, and there’s a huge struggle with finding their own two feet in a career filled with others who strive to be the best.

A study from Law Society of England & Wales found that 96% of respondents experienced “negative stress” which impacts their health and day-to-day life. The same study also found that 39% of junior lawyers had to take time off due to the stress; this was higher than the proportion of those senior.

Investment in mental health support is critical for those working in law

There are more studies supporting the notion that younger solicitors and barristers experience poor mental health and “lower overall wellbeing”, and it’s time that these issues are addressed. Not only is the poor wellbeing of younger generations in law concerning on a personal level, but it’s also concerning for the future of the law profession. With such studies showing negative impacts of being young or new to the field of law, it’s off-putting and worrying for many aspiring lawyers.

As law is an immensely competitive field and there’s always overwhelming workloads, it’s important that juniors have support to be able to progress. Without mental health support, their work quality and productivity alongside their mental health will decline. Many encounter emotionally distressing cases, just like their seniors, and with less experience this can be very hard to deal with. They don’t have the long experiences to help them get through the tough cases and long-hours, and so guidance and support is necessary.

Investing in mental health and wellbeing support can help young lawyers navigate their early careers and stressors so that they can flourish as the future UK legal professionals. Ensuring that they have psychological safety is very important as there’s not only a mental health crisis, but it also means that there’ll be more confidence in the quality of legal work.