Bar Wellbeing

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Taking the first step

Chris Quinn on why the Bar needs to get serious about wellbeing ... and how to get training  

Although it has not gained much coverage outside legal circles, the Bar Council recently published a sobering report on health issues afflicting barristers.  

29 June 2015 / Chris Quinn
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Stress at the Bar

Stress remains the most common reason for calls to LawCare, the advisory and support service for the legal profession.  

Of the 378 case files opened in 2012, 42 were for barristers. Nineteen barristers (45 per cent) called about stress; 10 (24 per cent) about depression, seven (17 per cent) about alcohol; one (two per cent) about drugs; and five (10 per cent) were listed as “other”. 

  

31 January 2013
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Barristers' Benevolent Association

Terence Mowschenson QC explains the work of the BBA  

The Barristers’ Benevolent Association (BBA) exists to support, help and comfort those members of the Bar in England and Wales, including the judiciary, who are in need, in distress or in difficulties. Founded in 1873, the BBA has helped barristers and their families in every circuit. The criteria are that the applicant is needy and worthy. The aim is, wherever possible, to overcome the problem and rebuild the applicant’s life, dignity and career. 

31 January 2013
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Second Bar Council Disability Conference

Profession
Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, in his keynote speech welcomed the opportunity which the Bar Council Disability Conference gave to play an important part ‘in enabling chambers and individual barristers to learn from’ examples of ‘reasonable adjustments which lawyers in general, and members of the Bar in particular, should be making so as to render access to justice properly accessible for all’. 

30 November 2012
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Portrait of an Alcoholic

Where can a lawyer turn to when managing drink, work and life proves hard? LawCare explains how it is here to help.  

When you think of an alcoholic, do you think of a shambling, slurring, dishevelled individual, living rough and existing from drink to drink, or do you think of a well-respected partner in a successful law firm or a barrister winning cases? It may be because the first portrait is the popular public perception that only around 7% of calls to LawCare’s free and confidential helpline are from, or about, alcoholic lawyers. 

31 December 2011
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Wear & Tear at the Bar

Suffering from pains or aches? There are three key areas to focus on, advises Christopher Belderbos 

30 June 2010
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Taking a Break?

Freya Newbery explains the issues surrounding career breaks for barristers and reports on the recent Bar Council “Managing Career Breaks” seminar.  

As part of its commitment to retaining women in self-employed practice, the Bar Council hosted an immensely practical half-day seminar, “Managing Career Breaks”, on 23 October 2009. The seminar provided practical guidance to both barristers beginning a break or planning to return to practice following maternity leave or a career break, and those in chambers—such as equal opportunity officers, clerks and practice managers—responsible for managing career breaks and helping returners to re-build their practices. 

31 January 2010
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Stress at the Bar

Hilary Tilby discusses the dangers of using alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms for dealing with a stressful practice and highlights the help at hand 

When you are subject to long-term stress, the result is that you feel grim – not sleeping well; unable to think clearly; losing your joie de vivre; losing confidence in your own judgement and abilities etc. Naturally, you want to feel better, so what do you do? If you are, as is likely to be the case, the normal legal personality (unable to delegate, driven, perfectionist, the A type personality) then you look for a quick fix, because, by definition, the legal personality is too busy to wait for anything to change. It must be immediate. And what has an immediate effect? Nicotine, sugar, and more potentially damaging, alcohol and drugs.     

31 December 2009
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A Stroke  of  Luck

A criminal barrister in his early 50s recounts how his life was turned upside down by a stroke, and offers some advice.  

It is 4.30am. I have to leave for court in four hours’ time. I can’t sleep, but it isn’t the imminent case that keeps me awake. My left arm has pins and needles. The sensation isn’t going away. In fact, it’s spreading to my leg. I put up with this for a long time, expecting it to stop. Then I settle for hoping it will stop, until eventually my wife is dragged from sleep by my increasing restlessness. We debate the situation. I insist forcefully that I’m fine to go to court, but it turns out that I can’t walk. I can’t even stand unsupported. By now, my entire left side is alive with strangeness, yet oddly dead. We agree that the court had better wait. Soon afterwards I am in A&E. Our lives are changing irrevocably as the minutes pass. The Acute Stroke Ward beckons, and my family and I enter uncharted territory. 

30 June 2009
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Chair’s Column

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Justice at the polls

The Chair of the Bar launches a Manifesto for Justice as campaigning gets under way

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