Law Society chair urges firms to introduce overworking “trigger warnings”

updated on 09 April 2024

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Chair of the City of London Law Society, Colin Passmore, has called for law firms to introduce overworking “trigger warnings” to protect the mental health of lawyers, following the death of a partner at a City Law firm.

He suggests that if a lawyer is working incredibly long hours this should “send a trigger warning and that person needs to be spoken to and looked after as appropriate”. Currently, many City firm’s lawyers work more than 3,000 hours a year, beginning the day at 9:00am and not finishing until 11:00pm.

Passmore highlights that “something very serious is going on” in the legal profession and that measures must be taken to protect lawyers’ mental health. While he notes that the typical nine-to-five routine is unlikely to work for most City firms, he emphasises the need for change.

Passmore explains that “while a number of lawyers may feel sufficiently resilient and sufficiently supported to get by, it is not good enough to assume that this is the case for everybody”.

He continues: “Frankly, if we are to avoid having the position dealt with by regulation, as some are suggesting, then we as responsible leaders must act and must act now: we cannot go on with a significant number of lawyers at all levels who are suffering from the way in which we now expect them to work.”

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