Impact of stress on barristers highlighted in survey

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12th May 2015 11:13 - Professional Services

A recent survey, published by Bar Council, has highlighted the impact that stress has on barristers. For example, 1 in 8 barristers described Impact of stress on barristers highlighted in surveythemselves as ‘emotionally exhausted’ and 50 per cent claimed to have difficulties getting good quality sleep.

The survey – which has been hailed as the most comprehensive survey of barristers’ wellbeing to date – also discovered that stress and a lack of leadership role models were the factors which had the most impact on a barrister’s wellbeing.

It was also found that many barristers refuse to seek help for their issues, as they believe that there is a stigma surrounding stress at the bar.

During the research 2,456 people were questioned. From this sample it was found that at least 300 individuals were feeling emotionally drained. As well as this, 1,364 said that they did not get enough sleep.

Of the respondents, approximately 50 per cent said that they faced profound stress at work and 2 in 3 said that the stress they were under was affecting their performance at work.

The respondents were asked to highlight the most challenging aspects of their role. Financial worries, high expectations, devaluation of the profession and long unsocial working hours were among the most challenging factors, according to the survey respondents.

Of those who were self-employed, half of the respondents claimed to feel disengaged at work, as opposed to those who were not self-employed, where 1 in 3 felt the same.

The employed barristers said that they face challenges as a result of a lack of autonomy and a reduced sense of status compared with those who were self-employed.

When looking at the demographic of who were experiencing the most pressure at work, those aged between 35 and 55 came out the top.

The survey found that formal and informal mentoring significantly reduces stress. However, very few respondents claimed to have received mentoring.

Chairman of the bar, Alistair MacDonald, said of the subject: “For too long, stress, mental health and wellbeing have been taboo subjects of discussion at the bar and in the wider legal sector.”

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