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Falcon Chambers

This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of developing a wellbeing policy, increasing awareness of wellbeing, developing resilience training schemes and/or promoting wellbeing initiatives.

Falcon Chambers have undertaken multiple initiatives to ensure that Chambers remains one of the nicest chambers to work in.

 

What was the business (other case) for action?

Falcon Chambers has historically had an excellent track record in attracting and retaining members, in large part due to a friendly and supporting working environment.

However, Chambers recognised that the modern ways of working are increasing levels of pressure on barristers and staff, and that more active and formal measures were needed to ensure that everyone continued to feel, and to be, fully supported and to perform at their best. Falcon Chambers were particularly keen to provide a warm and useful welcome for new members of chambers, and to set up structures for existing barristers to help each other to identify and solve potential issues before they affected either wellbeing or work performance.

 

What did the Chambers do?

Chambers set up a Wellbeing Committee with representation from junior and senior barristers and clerks, fully endorsed by Chambers’ Management Board.

The Wellbeing Committee worked with the Chancery Bar Association to develop and refine a Chambers Wellbeing Policy, which has been adopted as part of the Chambers Constitution.

To support the implementation and success of the policy, over the past year or so, the Committee has:

  • Organised training for all barristers and staff with Dr Bill Mitchell specifically designed to allow each individual to become more aware of factors that might be impacting on wellbeing, and the signs to watch out for in themselves and others that wellbeing is being compromised.  The training also covered strategies to build resilience and proactively address any ‘warning signs’ before they cause major problems.
  • Developed new induction processes (including tailored induction packs and a personal meeting) for new tenants immediately post-pupillage, and experienced lateral recruits, highlighting the support available to them, and reducing the stress of this important transition.
  • Worked to develop a mentoring scheme open to all members of chambers, to provide support and guidance on wellbeing and practice development. The scheme will formally launch with a training session for both potential mentors and potential mentees on 26 November 2018, in order to ensure that the process delivers maximum benefit to all involved.
  • Taken responsibility for checking that practice meetings between barristers and clerks are being scheduled regularly to encourage dialogue between members and clerks.
  • Organised informal social and charitable events, including charity cake bake sales, which have provided valuable opportunities for members of chambers and staff to relax together.

“Falcon Chambers have used work on wellbeing to formally recognise the pressure now placed on members of the Bar, keeping very much to the pre-existing ethos of chambers. They have worked effectively with Chancery Bar in developing their strategy; and initiatives like talks from experts and reviewing induction processes demonstrate a well-considered approach. Good to see too investment in mentoring.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

A culture of open dialogue amongst barristers and staff about wellbeing issues has developed, allowing potential problems to be identified and avoided.

Feedback from new members of chambers on the new induction process was universally positive, and the process will be used for all future recruits.

Wellbeing issues are integrated into chambers’ decision-making processes, and there is a greater understanding of how these affect, and are affected by, other aspects of Chambers’ business and work practices.

 

Tips

Strong support, and resourcing, from the senior management of Chambers is important, both practically in being able to run a full programme of activities, and in signalling that the importance of well-being is recognised.

Draw on external experts who have a good understanding of the particular challenges and pressures of working at the Bar.

Don’t pigeonhole wellbeing as a detached issue but try to embed it as an important consideration in all aspects of Chambers management and decision making.

The information and resource packs on this website are designed to help you and your colleagues to work as a community for better wellbeing and professional resilience. If you want to provide feedback on these resources, or to get involved in promoting wellbeing please get in touch.


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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