Lawyer Health and Wellbeing - How the Legal Profession is Tackling Stress and Creating Resiliency

Recent years have witnessed growing concern internationally in wellbeing and mental health across the legal community, a shift reflected in a host of initiatives, networks, reports and research studies. Changes to working patterns, generational shifts, and an increased interest in overall wellbeing have contributed to a growing movement towards better working practices – across all industries but particularly in high pressure professions such as law.

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  • Publication date: March, 2020
  • Pages: 120
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-390-4


Recent years have witnessed growing concern internationally in wellbeing and mental health across the legal community, a shift reflected in a host of initiatives, networks, reports and research studies. Changes to working patterns, generational shifts, and an increased interest in overall wellbeing have contributed to a growing movement towards better working practices – across all industries but particularly in high pressure professions such as law. 

The genesis of the lawyer wellbeing movement in the United States has spread to the UK, EU, Canada and Australia. In this opening chapter, Bree Buchanan, chair of the ABA Commission, covers the 2016 research regarding lawyer and law student impairment that served as the catalyst for creating the National Task Force on Lawyer Wellbeing. From this coalition of national organizations came the 2017 Report, which in turn launched a wide variety of national and state policy and practice innovations. Bree summarizes a snapshot of those developments.


Chapter 1: The lawyer wellbeing movement, By Bree Buchanan, chair, ABA Commission

Chapter 2: Emotional competence for wellbeing, By Emma Jones, senior lecturer, University of Sheffield Law School

Chapter 3: The Mindful Business Charter, By Kate Dodd, diversity and inclusion consultant, Pinsent Masons LLP

Chapter 4: Culture and practice of law – creating lasting change, By Elizabeth Rimmer, chief executive, LawCare

Chapter 5: Conversations that matter, By Lubna Gem Arielle, corporate facilitator and applied theatre practitioner

Chapter 6: Creating psychological safety, By Matt Dean, byrne·dean

Chapter 7: Junior lawyers and mental ill health, By Kayleigh Leonie, Trustee, LawCare

Chapter 8: Anxiety and junior lawyers, By Richard Collier, professor, University of Newcastle

Chapter 9: Supervising without stress, By Paul Bennett, Bennett Briegal

Chapter 10: Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and Courts approach to mental health, By Paul Bennett, Bennett Briegal

Chapter 11: Having your cake and eating it – how enhanced wellbeing and excellent professional performance go hand-in-hand, By James Pereira, FTB Chambers


Bree Buchanan
Emma Jones
Dr Emma Jones is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield Law School, developing modules on digital lawyering and lawtech. Prior to that she was a senior lecturer and teaching director at the Open University Law School. She is also a senior fellow of the Higher Education Authority and an associate academic fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. Emma’s research focuses on the role of emotions and wellbeing in legal education and the legal profession. She is academic lead on the Fit for Law project, working with the charity LawCare, to provide free online resources for legal professionals promoting emotionally and psychologically healthier ways of working. Prior to moving into academia, Emma was a solicitor in private practice, specialising in construction law.
Kate Dodd
Kate Dodd is a diversity and inclusion consultant who has a particular interest in working collaboratively with business leaders to develop the business case for cultural change. Kate advises Pinsent Masons LLP and Brook Graham Ltd and their clients across the full range of diversity topics. Kate’s interests include developing and embedding mental health and wellbeing strategies and helping businesses learn how to start conversations and reduce stigma. She has been heavily involved in founding and developing the Mindful Business Charter, which is a cross-industry set of principles, aimed at reducing unnecessary sources of stress and increasing wellbeing. The Mindful Business Charter has now been adopted by a number of leading law firms and financial services institutions. Kate is also passionate about supporting businesses achieve a better balance in relation to gender, race and ethnicity. She works with companies to develop strategies to attract and retain the best talent, and to cultivate the skills needed to serve their clients and communities. Kate is an employment lawyer by background, with 15 years’ post-qualification experience specialising in equality, diversity and inclusion. Kate is an experienced advocate and represented her clients in Employment Tribunals across England, Scotland and Wales. Kate also assists her clients with practical diversity initiatives, including setting up mentoring and buddying schemes and delivering unconscious bias training. Kate is a member of the Employment Lawyers’ Association, and a number of leading diversity networks.
Elizabeth Rimmer
Elizabeth Rimmer started her working life as a solicitor specializing in clinical negligence. She has been managing and developing charities in the mental health sector for over 15 years, and joined LawCare as chief executive in 2015. Ark_
Lubna Gem Arielle
Lubna Gem Arielle is a corporate facilitator/applied theatre practitioner who designs and delivers leadership training for law firms including mental health and workplace wellbeing. Her focus on mental health awareness and advocacy emerged from her lived experience of clinical depression and anxiety. In response to a need to foster supportive environments, Lubna developed a conversational model (NILE) to elicit open and effective workplace communication about mental health. She is the creative director of Bridging the Blue, a Virtual Reality work made in collaboration with computer scientists at Trinity College, Dublin, exploring the potential of VR to facilitate empathic and non-judgmental listening. Lubna has an interdisciplinary background which includes 12 years as a solicitor (CMS, FieldFisher, PwC and head of legal at London arts centre, Rich Mix) as a legal educator making CPD programmes as a writer/presenter for Legal Network Television (a subsidiary of the University of Law) in parallel with lecturing on MA programmes in arts management at Birkbeck, University of London and Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Towards the end of her traditional legal career, Lubna studied fine art at Central Saint
Matt Dean
Matt Dean’s central purpose is to help people understand the impact they have on others. His first book, The Soft Stuff: reclaiming kindness for the world of work was published in 2019. He’s worked with employment problems since 1989, initially as a lawyer in City law firms. In 2003 he left Simmons & Simmons, where he had created a team that talked to people in client organizations about the risks they were running and the impact they were having on others. With Victoria Byrne he created byrne.dean, a consultancy dedicated to creating kinder, fairer, more productive workplaces. Matt’s best known for his inspiring facilitation; he’s done his 10,000 hours. He challenges people to recognize their power, focus on their impact and change their bit of the workplace. He’s worked in 28 countries and is equally at ease with the most senior leaders or large, all staff groups. Inclusion and diversity has been a big part of his work since 2004. Two head and neck cancers in 2009 and 2016 shaped his life and inform his work.
Kayleigh Leonie
Kayleigh Leonie is a solicitor specialising in employment law and a trustee of LawCare, a registered charity that supports good mental health and wellbeing throughout the legal community. Kayleigh has undertaken research, written articles, and published best practice guidance for employers on supporting the wellbeing of their employees on behalf of the Law Society of England and Wales. Kayleigh holds regular roundtables for employers to share best practice on supporting wellbeing in the workplace.
Richard Collier
Richard Collier FAcSS FRSA is a professor of law at Newcastle University, UK. He has published widely in the area of law and gender and has recently been the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship in connection with the project Wellbeing, Law and Society: Politics, Policy and Practice. He is presently writing a book on wellbeing in the legal community for Cambridge University Press and has just conducted research funded by Anxiety UK (2018) into experiences of anxiety amongst junior lawyers. His previous work has addressed family law, fatherhood, criminology, the legal profession and legal education and research and books include: Men, Law and Gender (2010), Fragmenting Fatherhood: A Socio-Legal Study (with Sally Sheldon, 2008), Masculinities, Crime and Criminology (1998), Masculinity, Law and the Family (1995) and Fathers’ Rights Activism and Law Reform (ed. 2007). Richard is an editorial board member of Social and Legal Studies: An International Journal.
Paul Bennett
Paul Bennett, partner at Bennett Briegal, is a specialist in both professional practice and employment law work. Paul is a nationally recognized expert who can help if the situation is challenging or potentially career-defining. Paul works across England and Wales, with London and Manchester dominating as the locations of key regulators.
James Pereira
James Pereira QC is a practising barrister and coach. He was called to the Bar in 1996 and took silk in 2014, and is a tenant at Francis Taylor Building, Inner Temple, London. He is the co-author of several leading textbooks in his field of practice, and listed as a leading QC in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners Directory of the UK Bar. As a coach, he works with individuals, teams and organizations. He is an NLP Master practitioner, a trained organizations, relationships and systems coach, and a member of the International Coaching Federation. He co-writes a regular column in The Lawyer, “Loving Legal Life”, and is a regular public speaker in the field of leadership, wellbeing and performance in the legal profession. He is a co-founder of Gather Coaching ( and The Libra Partnership (www.thelibrapartnership. com).

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