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15 April 2019

Overwhelmed? Mind racing? Can’t sleep? Life in the law can be challenging and sometimes things can get on top of you. Talk to us – we’ve been there.

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Law is by nature competitive and adversarial and the heavy workload begins when studying or training to be a lawyer.  There are high levels of negative emotions within law: the work is often about winning or losing requiring legal professionals to be critical, judgemental, combative and aggressive. You are required to think pessimistically, looking for potential problems and worse-case scenarios. In addition many lawyers are perfectionists who fear failure and making mistakes. All of this can significantly affect mental health and wellbeing.

LawCare is an independent charity offering emotional support to legal professionals in the UK and Ireland through our helpline, peer support network, website, and training and talks to legal organisations.  We’ve been supporting lawyers for 21 years. We raise awareness of wellbeing issues across the legal community and tackle stigma surrounding mental health. 

Our free and confidential helpline is a safe place to talk without judgement, with calls answered by trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law. Last year we responded to over 900 calls.

As well our helpline, LawCare offers one-to-one peer support. We have a network of Peer Supporters, people who work in the legal profession who may have been through difficult times themselves and can offer one-to-one support, friendship and mentoring to helpline callers referred to them.

We have visited hundreds of legal workplaces over the years and we have listened to thousands of legal professionals tell us about the stress, anxiety and depression they are experiencing, which is often caused or exacerbated by a difficult working environment. Lack of support or supervision, an overly critical manager, being undermined after a career break, an unreasonably heavy workload, long hours and sleep deprivation are all very common issues.

Whether you’re support staff feeling burnt out, a young trainee being bullied, a student struggling with the workload, an experienced partner worrying about a mistake you’ve made, a senior lawyer feeling like you’re being pushed out  - we’re here to listen.

We are here to help all branches of the legal profession: solicitors, barristers, barrister’s clerks, judges, legal executives, paralegals, trade mark attorneys, patent agents, costs lawyers and their staff and families.

LawCare was founded by the legal profession in 1997, primarily to support lawyers who were experiencing issues with alcohol, giving them a space to talk about their problems in confidence. We now cover a range of issues, ranging from stress to depression to anxiety to bullying at work.

We have witnessed significant growth and change in the legal profession over the last two decades, as organisations started to embrace the mental health agenda and recognised the need to look after those who need support with mental health issues. Momentum around mental health and wellbeing in the legal community has been particularly growing in the last few years, with many firms now rolling out wellbeing initiatives and providing training to staff in this area. Firms need to do their best to create a healthy and happy place to work, not just because it is the right thing to do but because there is a strong proven business case for it.

Happier workforces are more productive and less likely to make mistakes. Stress contributes to raised levels or cortisol and other hormones, which negatively affect the brain’s ability to function and process information. Lawyers experiencing stress, anxiety or depression can find it difficult to concentrate, pay attention to detail or interact with colleagues. In addition regularly getting less than 7 hours’ sleep has been shown to have a significant negative impact on performance. Judgement and decision making skills are often affected by stress, as well as an ability to manage time effectively which can in turn impact on competence.

For more information on what LawCare does, how we can support you in creating a mentally healthy workplace and for additional information, resources and factsheets visit www.lawcare.org.uk 

If you need emotional support call our helpline on 0800 279 6888.

15 March 2019

Top Midlands legal talent celebrated at the 2019 Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards

All the Winners

The very best of the region’s legal talent was celebrated last night at Birmingham Law Society’s 18th annual Legal Awards event, held this year at the ICC and hosted by acclaimed BBC journalist John Humphrys.

Awards were made to firms and individuals who have displayed exceptional performance over the last 12 months, including in the new category of Excellence in Client Service (for both business and private clients).

The big winners of the evening were Irwin Mitchell LLP, who took the awards in both new client service categories, as well as in the Solicitor of the Year category - won by one of Irwin Mitchell’s personal injury specialists, Chrissie Wolfe.

In addition to the 12 main categories, a special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ian Shovlin of Higgs & Sons Solicitors, described by his peers as a “fabulous example of what can be achieved with hard work, ambition, skill and downright decency.”

President of Birmingham Law Society, James Turner, said of the event:
“We are extremely proud to have such a progressive, modern and diverse legal community here in the Midlands. It was no small task to whittle the many excellent nominations we received down to a shortlist, and the rigor with which the subsequent interview process was conducted means that our winners truly represent the crème de la crème of the region’s legal talent.

“The continued success of the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards is testament to the commitment, hard work and generosity of all those involved in the event. Our sincerest thanks go to our esteemed judging panel, led by Her Honour Frances Kirkham CBE and Tony Rollason, and of course to our sponsors, without whose ongoing support the event would not be possible.”

Complete list of Winners on our website.

 

Birmingham Post publishes supplement on family law 

Birmingham Law Society has teamed up with the Post to look at the latest developments in this sector of the legal profession.

The complex world of family and divorce law comes into sharp focus in this week's Birmingham Post.

A special supplement, published in association with Birmingham Law Society, looks at some of the issues facing the sector such as the blame game, the rise of technology and pensions.

To read the story on The Post online, please go to their website. To read the article page by page, please click here.

1 Family Law 1

16 January 2019

HUW edwards to host 2019 Legal Awards

Edwards Huw 622017 CPT Event

Journalist and newsreader Huw Edwards will be hosting the annual awards event later this year.

Huw Edwards anchors Britain’s most popular TV news bulletin, BBC’s Ten O’Clock News, and has led the broadcast commentary for some of the world's most prestigious events including the spectacular opening ceremony at the London Olympics in 2012. 

Birmingham Law Society is proud to announce Huw as the host of the 2019 Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards, scheduled for the evening of Thursday 14 March 2019 at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.

Now in its 18th year, the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards event has become a permanent fixture in both the legal and business calendars, attracting a capacity crowd year-on-year to celebrate the very best of the region's talent.

Awards will be made to firms and individuals who have displayed exceptional performance over the last 12 months, including in the new category of Excellence in Client Service (for both business and private clients).

President of Birmingham Law Society, James Turner, says:

"Huw Edwards represents many of the qualities that Birmingham Law Society values most: integrity, tenacity and professional excellence. His involvement in this year's Legal Awards reflects the reputation of Birmingham and the wider Midlands region as an increasingly key feature of the national legal landscape."

There are a limited number of corporate sponsorship opportunities available to businesses at the event. Those interested should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at Birmingham Law Society:
Rebecca Lynch - Head of Operations
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
0121 227 8704 / 07554 007 347

Don’t miss out on your chance to attend the biggest and best event in the West Midlands legal calendar. 

Tickets for the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards 2019 are on sale now. BOOK HERE 

Winning the battle of efficiency and profitability

SpeechWrite Cloud Technology Whitepaper

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Gain insights from Gateley Plc, Aaron & Partners and Tuckers Solicitors and discover their views on cloud technology within the legal industry and how this will lead to increased efficiencies and a sustained reduction of operational costs.

“Chief executives, senior partners, directors and members (of the law society) will benefit from an introduction to the technology involved and analysis of where future developments will take us”

James Turner – President of the Birmingham Law Society / Senior Partner at Tuckers Solicitors

See why key figures in the legal sector view cloud technology as a vital tool to aid any solicitor’s growth strategy in a bid to drive operational efficiency and optimise key business processes.

What will you learn?

  • To what extent is the UK legal market keeping pace with technological innovation?
  • How can new technologies help law firms to optimise their business?
  • What are the key issues law firms should consider before investing in new tech products?
  • What’s next for the legal market in terms of cloud computing strategies?
  • What do law firms expect from the next generation of legal industry-focused technology?
  • How essential are voice recognition / dictation services to a law firm’s tech toolkit?

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