Legal network launches groundbreaking initiative to support isolated lawyers

updated on 13 May 2024

Reading time: two minutes

The National Legal Alliance has launched a wellbeing service – métier legal lifestyle protect – to support lawyers who are struggling with burnout and poor mental health.

The initiative, unveiled at the start of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, has been designed to help lawyers navigate periods of solitude and mental health challenges amid the demands of the legal profession.

The National Legal Alliance was established during the pandemic to combat loneliness, with the new service focusing on holistic health, while embracing both mental and physical wellbeing in one accessible platform. The organisation has said it hopes the service will expand to include discounted gym memberships, healthy recipes and a charity partnership to encourage lawyers to take care of their mental health and bodies.

LawCare’s Life in the Law research demonstrates the continued requirement for work in this area. Of those who provided insights for the research, 69% said that they’d experienced poor mental health in the 12 months prior to completing the study, while only 56.5% of those said they’d spoken about their mental health at work.

Qualified solicitor and founder of the National Legal Alliance Andrew Byrne acknowledged the shift in attitudes towards the mental wellbeing of lawyers compared to when he started practising law around 30 years ago. Byrne explained: “Back then lawyers probably took themselves too seriously. There was a lot of pressure and not a lot of time for socialising or relaxing. You couldn’t switch off from thinking about cases you were working on.

“Burnout was common, and I even had to take six months off at one point to recover from being so exhausted.

“Mental health wasn’t talked about then but now it is, which is something we want to focus on.”

Since 2020, the National Legal Alliance has grown to include over 50 law firms and encourages its members to step away from their desks and make connections. It’s also recently partnered with legalCadre, which helps law firms develop people-focused strategies to enhance culture, engagement and wellbeing within the organisation. Jane Gilchrist, director of legalCadre, said: “Creating a positive work environment creates a positive impact on connection, collaboration, engagement and wellbeing which in turn has a positive impact on how they interact with clients, and ultimately improves results.”

Note from the LawCareers.Net content team: if you need support while at university, there are a number of places you can contact, including your university's support service, Nightline and Student Space. If you need support now, text SHOUT to 85258 to chat with a trained volunteer.

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