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Charter Chambers

This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of increasing awareness of wellbeing.

Charter Chambers has developed a checklist for Senior Management and the Board of Management on supporting an individual member with a wellbeing issue. Junior staff are trained to inform senior staff of potential wellbeing issues.

What was the business (other case) for action?

Charter Chambers is keen to retain members, recognising the benefits of supporting an able barrister through a period of poor health is both in the barristers’ interests and in the interests of chambers (reputation both internally and externally, and future income generation from the incapacitated barrister once they are back in practice).

What did the Chambers do?

Charter created a checklist for clerks and chambers managers outlining options and assistance available including:

1. Arranging counselling

Financial Support, offering assistance in:

1. Negotiating a bank loan

2. Dealing with a mortgage company

3. Supporting an appeal to the Barristers Benevolent Fund

 

4. Opening and controlling a bank account

5. Ensuring financial obligations are met (including domestic obligations, gas, electricity etc.)

6. Ensuring sufficient cash to live and work

7. Negotiating with HMRC

8. Prioritising payments (e.g. ensuring chambers rent and clerks’ fees are met only after other current creditors were satisfied); Waiving claim to monies owed to chambers

“Charter Chambers has recognised the importance of providing additional support to any member with wellbeing difficulties and have developed protocols to ensure staff are clear on the steps chambers is prepared to take to assist a barrister.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

Clerks and chambers staff are now clear on what we can offer members and more confident in the steps they should take.

Members are clear on the support we can provide and are more willing to come and talk to us when they experience problems.  The Joint Heads of Chambers regularly remind members of this in “update” e-mails, and two senior barristers take responsibility for maternity/paternity issues and more general well-being (barristers and staff) respectively.

Tips

  • Be proactive – start to tackle issues as soon as problems develop
  • Checklists and training enable clerks and staff to have clarity on their role and chambers’ position re helping members.
  • Recognise that it is in chambers’ interests to support and manage the retention (or if necessary smooth exit) of members who get into financial trouble, and that financial issues are often caused by or result in wellbeing issues which mean members may need additional support.

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It can be difficult to make a living from law and it can be pressurised and demanding. Competition and an adversarial approach to everything can make collegiate relationships difficult. This website aims to provide you with the knowledge to manage these stressors, make emotionally informed, wise professional decisions and thrive in your chosen profession.

A simple expression that sums up wellbeing is ‘travelling well’

Psychological wellbeing within the profession is rarely spoken about