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Lincoln’s Inn

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.

Lincoln’s Inn has introduced a series of events to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of all those who use the Inn.

In early 2017, the Bar Representation (Hall) Committee created a Social & Wellbeing Group to co-ordinate and organise the Inn’s wellbeing programme for its members.

We recognise the importance of promoting the wellbeing of our staff and members at all stages of their careers. Lincoln’s Inn has been, and continues to be, very pro-active in addressing potential issues that may arise in its members’ personal and professional lives.

What was the business (other case) for action?

Lincoln’s Inn hopes that by introducing a range of wellbeing related initiatives, members will have access to the resources and information they need to help them to cope with difficulties that they may experience in life. The overall aim of our activity is to ensure members are happier, healthier and more productive in their professional and personal lives. Indeed, the defined function of the Social & Wellbeing Group is to secure a happy and contented atmosphere within the Inn.

 
We recognise that life at the Bar can be extremely stressful and all consuming, especially in the advent of the digital age. Many members face pressures of combining their working lives with the additional pressures of their private lives, which can be overwhelming for some.

The Inn also recognises that it plays an important role, particularly for those at an early stage of their careers (especially prior to tenancy) and for those who may not have adequate support within their own chambers or workplaces.

What did the Inn do?

Lincoln’s Inn has introduced several initiatives to promote both physical and mental wellbeing of its members and staff.

STAFF INITIATIVES

These include:
• An Employee Assistance Programme
• Staff representatives & supporters
• Flexi and part-time working
• Childcare vouchers
• Annual equality training
• Social events. (Recent social events include sports day, quiz nights, staff parties, sponsored walks, exercise classes, information regarding various health topics and sponsored charity days such as “Jeans for Genes Day”.)

All staff members have access to free private healthcare, which also includes mental health support. Free face-to-face counselling is available. The Inn offers all staff the opportunity to access discounted gym membership. There is a “Cycle to Work” Scheme and lunchtime Pilates classes.

HALL MEMBERS: The Bar Representation Committee (“BRC”) considers that the physical and mental wellbeing of Hall members is crucial to the success and prosperity of the Bar.

Although the Inn has offered education and CPD support to its members for many years, the BRC has created a Social & Wellbeing Group (“SWG”). The SWG held its inaugural event, a Wellbeing Forum, on 8 May 2017. Rachel Spearing explained the negative effects of a poor work/life balance. She gave an introduction to the resources available on the Bar Council’s Wellbeing Portal. This was followed by a Q&A session with panellists. Julie Whitby, a barrister, gave a demonstration of stress coping strategies, which included simple yoga exercises. Our then Treasurer, Lord Neuberger, gave the closing address, identifying the need for the judiciary to be concerned for the wellbeing of barristers. The evening concluded with a reception during which delegates could seek further guidance from the panellists in an informal setting.

The SWG held two other events in 2017: a Quiz Night and a Venetian Gourmet Ball in 2017, which were well attended and received good feedback. There are several more events planned for 2018.

By introducing a diverse range of wellbeing opportunities and social activities, the Inn hopes to foster the collegiate atmosphere and improve wellbeing. These are complementary to the dining at the Inn, which remains an important element of the Inn’s social life for many members.

For its pupils, the Inn has introduced a talk on wellbeing as part of the compulsory Practice Management Course.

Each year the Members’ Common Room holds regular, small-scale social events to foster the sense of community and wellbeing.

The Inn has also introduced a Women’s Forum.

Lincoln’s Inn promotes the Chapel as another resource open to all its members, regardless of their religious beliefs. The Preacher is planning a series of meditation, mindfulness and prayer sessions, which will be open to everyone. She is also available as a confidential listener for any members of the Inn.

STUDENT MEMBERS

The Inn recognises the importance of comprehensive pastoral support for its most junior members. A student-led Junior Members’ Association organises a programme of activities and acts as the link between the Inn and its students. In addition, several other groups monitor and seek to improve the wellbeing provision for students. These groups include the Education Committees, Equality & Diversity Working Group and the Social Mobility Group. Each of these groups organise educational events and social events, such as a ceilidh and summer ball.

Furthermore, the Inn has a longstanding Mentoring Scheme where students are put in touch with a barrister who can offer pastoral and careers support throughout their studies. This scheme has benefits for both the students and their barrister mentors.

Finally, Lincoln’s Inn offers a Pupillage Foundation Scheme (“PFS”) for newly Called members who request support in obtaining pupillage. Each participant is appointed a mentor, as it is acknowledged that this is an extremely stressful and demanding time for students. Recognising the needs of our outside London members, the Inn has been able to introduce the PFS in Manchester as well as in London.

What were the results?

Lincoln’s Inn is recognised as being a caring employer and of being very supportive of all its members.

By ensuring the wellbeing of its staff, Lincoln’s Inn is better able to provide meaningful support and assistance to its members.

Although statistics are not available, it is our belief that the various initiatives have resulted in reduced absence from work due to sickness and a prompter return to work.

All the events and activities have resulted in extremely positive feedback from participants and the Inn continuously seeks to improve and expand the range of activities and services that it offers.

“Lincoln’s Inn clearly recognises the important role that any Inn plays in supporting members’ wellbeing, particularly for those at an early stage of their careers and those who may not have adequate support within their own chambers or workplaces. They have been committed to Wellbeing at the Bar, and supported the programme since its inception, and it is great to see them now taking forward their own initiatives to support their members.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

Tips

• Start small. Don’t try to do too much at once.
• Discuss: speak to as many people as possible about your ideas. Through your discussions you may discover that many people have talents that will assist your projects.
• Do visit the Wellbeing section of the Bar Council’s website Bar Council’s Wellbeing Portal, because it contains a wealth of useful information.

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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