Adele Edwin-Lamerton updates members on JLD activities over the last two months.
Once again it has been a busy time for the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD). On 28 April we held our annual conference and ball, where we revealed the results of our 2018 resilience and wellbeing survey. This week is Mental Health Awareness week and we will be publishing a series of blogs related to the topic of good mental health.
The survey showed that the key stress factors for junior lawyers are high workload, client demands / expectations, lack of support and ineffective management. Over 80 per cent of respondents said that their firm could do more to support stress at work. For the purpose of the survey, stress was defined as being under too much emotional or mental pressure.
Kayleigh Leonie, the JLD Council member at the Law Society prepared the survey and commented that:
‘The legal profession still has a long way to go to alleviate the stigma relating to mental ill-health. The JLD hopes that the work it is doing will help to reduce the stigma and encourage organisations to foster good mental health. The JLD released guidance for employers in February 2018 which encourages organisations to adopt a more proactive and inclusive approach to mental health. The guidance is split into three core pillars: (1) education / training, (2) support and (3) culture.’
Over 38 per cent of respondents said that they had suffered with a mental health problem in the month before completing the survey and under 18 per cent of those individuals had made their employer aware of it. Over 55 per cent of those suffering with a mental health problem said that they had considered taking time off work but did not, with over 64 per cent stating that it caused them to experience problems in their family life and relationships.
Over 80 per cent felt that their organisation could do more to provide help, guidance and support in relation to mental health in the workplace.
14-20 May marks Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is ‘stress, are we coping?’.
To support Mental Health Awareness Week, we are releasing a series of blogs each day. The first three blogs focus on mindfulness, the fourth discusses life after a bereavement, while our final blog looks at the benefits of cultural change for better wellbeing. Many thanks to our blog authors for their contributions.
Find out more
If you need help, did you know you can turn to LawCare? LawCare exists to promote and support good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community. Their free, independent and confidential helpline provides a space for you to talk about anything that may be worrying you.
The JLD is acutely aware of the pressure that our members are under and if anyone would like support in relation to stress or other related conditions, please contact Law Care in confidence for more information.
You can call them on 0800 279 6888 Monday-Friday 9:00-19:30, weekends and bank holidays 10:00-16:00.
For further information about LawCare and the full range of support and services they provide, visit the LawCare website.
The eleventh annual JLD conference was attended by over 100 junior lawyers from across England and Wales. Keynote speaker Baroness Hale, president of the Supreme Court, spoke on the importance of access to justice and the impact of the gender pay gap. You can read a full summary of her speech in the Gazette. Plenary sessions covered a wide range of issues facing junior lawyers in practice including professional ethics, artificial intelligence (AI), building resilience and the GDPR. Delegates were able to choose from breakout sessions on practising in-house, court reforms and threatened areas of practice. Thank you to all our speakers, and CV clinic advisers, for giving up their weekend to support the JLD.
If you have a suggestion for a conference topic or speaker for next year’s conference we would like to hear from you.
That evening we hosted our black-tie ball which included a raffle in aid of the homeless charity, Crisis UK, for whom we raised over £600. I would like to thank all our raffle prize donors for their support and generosity. The list of donors can be found here.
LawTech, LegalTech and AI are terms that we are hearing more and more each day, in the legal media and beyond. They describe the growing wave of technological advancements being brought into the legal workplace in order to assist the work that the profession does. This includes AI programs that can sort through thousands of contracts and pick out key terms, tools to help you draft more efficiently by identifying where there are missing definitions and mapping technology that helps conveyancers overlay Ordnance Survey data with information from the Land Registry.
The JLD is keen to gain insight into how technology is affecting junior lawyers and how, if at all, LawTech will impact junior lawyers going forward. We would therefore like to invite you to take part in a survey to better understand your thoughts on this and how best we can support you.
Our free junior lawyer and student career forums take place at the Law Society on 8 September and 6 October respectively.
The junior lawyer forum is for trainees and junior solicitors and is aimed at equipping those who are at the start of their careers with skills and advice necessary to progress, diversity and develop within the legal profession.
Register your interest for the junior lawyer forum on 8 September
The student forum is aimed at LPC students and LPC graduates seeking a training position and includes a series of presentations designed to maximise their chances.
Register your interest for the LPC student forum on 6 October
We look forward to seeing you there.
Make sure you save the date for this year’s International Weekend on 27-29 September in London. International Weekend is primarily aimed at junior lawyers from overseas jurisdictions, including those who may be on secondment in the UK. However, the programme will be of interest to JLD members, who are welcome to attend all aspects of the International Weekend including the black-tie gala ball.
In January 2018, the Ministry of Justice published its latest consultation setting out the proposed future strategy for HMCTS in its approach to court and tribunal estate reform. Entitled ’Fit for the future: transforming the court and tribunal estate’, the proposals are set within the wider context of the modernisation work underway in HMCTS, and the consultation discusses suggestions for evaluating how the estate should change as a result. The JLD believe that these proposals will have a direct impact upon junior lawyers and submitted a response to this consultation.
Finally, we understand that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is due to announce the sole assessment provider for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in the next few weeks. Thereafter, we expect more details will emerge concerning the format of the assessment itself. Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for developments.
Chair, Junior Lawyers Division
The JLD is all about its members and their needs. To enable the JLD committee to better represent you, we want to hear from you. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our social media channels to give us your thoughts, seek our support or just to connect.