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Hailsham Chambers

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

Hailsham have introduced a range of initiatives based on feedback from members. Initiatives include wellbeing education as well as social events to bring members together to support one another. A wellbeing officer has been appointed to coordinate activity.

Hailsham want barristers and staff to know that they work better when their work and non-work lives are balanced; and that when their wellbeing takes a dip, there is information and help at hand; also that others here have been through adverse wellbeing events and can offer a sympathetic ear.

What was the business (other case) for action?

Hailsham Chambers has experience of barristers and staff suffering from adverse mental health and/or stress at work. They were aware based on first-hand experience of the financial and organisational pressure this can put on Chambers. Their wellbeing strategy aims to mitigate wellbeing issues, and to identify potential problems earlier.

They also wish to maintain a reputation that Hailsham Chambers is a healthy and friendly place to work, which in turn will support recruitment and retention.

What did the Chambers do?

Hailsham deliberately sought to address wellbeing (of barristers and staff) from the bottom up, rather than imposing a policy from above.

Hailsham has:

  • Arranged wellbeing presentations and discussions for staff and barristers jointly. Sessions cover the work of the Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group and sources of other wellbeing related resources. All members and staff are encouraged to attend;
  • formally appointed a Wellbeing Officer to maintain momentum. The Wellbeing Officer is on the Management Committee, so they can report back to Chambers on any new initiatives and concerns that Chambers might then want to act on more formally; and
  • via the Wellbeing Officer sent monthly wellbeing emails to members of Chambers and staff informing them of events or initiatives.

An outcome of dialogue around wellbeing has been the introduction of events (e.g. a Music Quiz Night for staff and barristers and more ad hoc chambers coffee mornings/tea events (one was arranged for charity)).

Chambers also organises:

  • Wellbeing inductions for pupils at the start of their pupillage. Chambers also ensure new tenants are given information about wellbeing resources available; and runs a
  • Mentoring Programme. Hailsham operate a mentoring scheme for pupils and new tenants, to try to give them a safe space in which they can talk about stresses and concerns.

Other activity to support wellbeing includes:

  • A running group
  • A walking group at lunch-time.
  • Chambers are currently looking into establishing a book group.

Chambers also supports an established wine club.

 

“Hailsham has adopted a bottom up approach to wellbeing, creating a sense of ownership and acceptance of the agenda by encouraging members and staff to identify opportunities to improve wellbeing across chambers, whilst providing structure and support via a wellbeing officer.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

Feedback from the formal wellbeing presentations have been positive.

Members and staff are very enthusiastic, because chambers is acting on ideas suggested by members and staff.  The impact of the Quiz Night cannot be understated in wellbeing terms. Opportunities to socialise together in an informal setting are few and far between. It is hoped similar evenings (in differing formats) will become an annual event.

Whenever there is a chambers tea event, there is a flurry of positive comment about how enjoyable this is and how it is good that this is being done more often.

Tips

  • Work from the bottom up to publicise the wellbeing message, rather than seeking to impose something from the top down. People have more enthusiasm for their own ideas!
  • Don’t give up publicising the message! Some resistance or inertia is inevitable, but the momentum should carry you along.

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.


Get in touch Policy & practice

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