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Wellbeing initiatives in legal firms

A blog post based on our digital conversation of 14th December 2020 with Hannah Beko.

Hannah is a Lawyer, Coach and trainer.  Her website is http://www.authenticallyspeaking.co.uk and she is a co-author of the forthcoming book entitled “Future proof your legal career today, 10 core areas of professional development”

Hannah has been researching what wellbeing initiatives legal firms are implementing and what return they are seeing on these investments.  This has been done through discussions with firms and her weekly support/discussion groups: one for junior lawyers who have been furloughed during the pandemic, and another for those in the legal profession generally.

It has not been possible to find data on specifically how lawyers are seeing a return on investment into wellbeing initiatives .  However, there is an excellent report by Buck[1] ‘Working Well: a Global survey of workforce wellbeing strategies 2018. This tells us that action is being taken on wellbeing, but there is little measurement of the success or otherwise of these interventions.

26% of UK businesses have a wellbeing programme in place

29% were planning to implement stress management and/or resilience programmes in the next 12 months

57% expected it to take 2-3 years to implement such a programme 

Only 10% said they were not seeing the value of investing in wellbeing support

Measuring the success of programmes

45% said they had insufficient resource to support measurement

16% said they did not know how to measure success

15% said there was no priority from leadership to measure

8% lacked belief that there is a measurable return

Hannah analysed what Law firms were doing in relation to the five pillars of wellbeing: physical, emotional, social/community, intellectual/career, and financial.  She found much action such as fruit bowls in the office, stress and resilience workshops.

But Hannah’s view was that support groups need to be listened to.  The top obstacle is still the stigma attached to mental health and wellbeing, and secondly that if the boss or line manager was not adopting these initiatives as a role model for change, there is little management buy and in junior members of staff were not taking up the support.

Reviewing workload pressures is also key as well as better communication. It is not necessarily so much the workload, but rather the lack of boundaries lawyers often display that results in wellbeing challenges.


[1] Buck is an integrated HR and benefits consulting, administration, and technology services provider based in New York.

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