How Stressful is the Legal Profession?

A 2012 UK survey by LawCare found that 68% of those in the legal profession had suffered from stress.

Yet, despite the great volume of those who suffered from stress, very few had taken time off for this reason. It was found that 65% did not do so as they did not want to express feeling stressed to their employer. Often, this was due to the fact that individuals did not want to seem “weak” or that they were worried about the “stigma” attached to the issue. However, there is a strikingly obvious need in the legal profession for stress to be discussed and healthily managed within the workplace.

So why is it that lawyers are so stressed? The legal profession is often a very high-pressure lifestyle. The biggest reported reasons for stress were feeling overloaded with work and not having enough time to complete tasks. Many often also felt unappreciated and isolated, with 43.4% feeling as though they were damaging personal and/or work relationships. High pressure raises levels of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline which weaken the immune system. This means that maintained high pressure can cause ‘burnout’ and illness.


So what can be done? Implementing stress risk assessments and an effective stress management policy will help start your organisation on its journey to better managing stress in the workplace.  Creating an open forum and fostering a positive approach to employee well-being will help you in maintaining a healthy and productive workforce.


Don’t know where to start? Email katie@altruistuk.com for your Free ‘Guide to Producing an Effective Workplace Mental Well-being Strategy’.

I am an undergraduate BSc Psychology student at the University of Birmingham. I am driven to banish the stigma surrounding mental illness, and to encourage people to better identify and manage their mental health.

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