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No5 Barristers’ 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.

What was the business (other case) for action?

No 5 Chambers has long-acknowledged that the reality of self-employment adds pressures to a barrister’s working life.  The desire to maintain a busy practice and to keep clerks and solicitors happy can result in taking on too much work, which can seriously upset work-life balance and may lead to unhealthy work-related issues.  These pressures, in turn, inform the stresses felt by clerks and staff.  Through our Wellbeing Policy we aim to mitigate these pressures and bring about a culture change in the long term.

In addition to the ethical and moral obligations that provided the impetus to bring about this change, we acknowledged four obvious advantages to Chambers:

  1. The retention of barristers and staff, who might otherwise look to leave Chambers as a result of wellbeing issues;
  2. The reduction of time away from work for stress-related illnesses;
  3. The encouragement back to work for barristers and staff who have taken a career break;
  4. The attraction of a supportive set to new-joiners.

What did the Chambers do?

  • Chambers conducted a confidential online survey amongst staff and barristers in order to discern the most significant features of practice/work affecting wellbeing and the ways in which Chambers could seek to reduce their cause and mitigate their effects.
  • Using the results as a guide, Chambers has drafted and implemented a comprehensive Wellbeing Policy, the key features of which are:
    • The implementation of a mentoring system to create a formal framework for support and a means by which issues can be identified and resolved, while maintaining confidentiality for the individual involved;
    • The appointment of a Wellbeing Officer, who sits on the Management Committee for Chambers, to ensure that the policy is implemented and updated as necessary;
    • The appointment of a Wellbeing Committee to support the Wellbeing Officer in that role;
    • The provision of “mental health first aid” training and other talks and seminars to educate and raise awareness of wellbeing issues within Chambers;
    • The active dissemination of educational material on the issue of wellbeing and the sign-posting of the Bar Council’s Wellbeing at the Bar Portal.
    • Chambers has publicised the Wellbeing Policy on the Chambers Intranet and circulating by email to raise awareness.

No 5 has a clear vision on wellbeing and a well thought out strategy and programme of activity and support. We particularly applaud chambers robust business case and recognition this is about long-term culture change, where success will not be achieved over-night. An excellent example of a chambers-based approach to wellbeing.

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the Wellbeing Policy.  No.  5 recognise that the Policy and its implementation are very much still a “work-in-progress” with focus on long-term culture change as well as short-term benefits; however, the immediate response has resulted in:

  • A recognition amongst staff and members that Chambers is pro-actively tackling wellbeing issues;
  • Requests to join the Wellbeing Committee;
  • Suggestions for wellbeing initiatives;

Active interaction between the Committee and other initiatives in Chambers, such as parental leave and support.

Tips

  • Conduct a survey to establish what wellbeing concerns are particular to your organisation.
  • Be realistic and practical about what can be achieved and in what timescale.
  • Take advice – the Bar Council provides an extremely helpful and committed resource.
  • Publicise the initiative throughout Chambers and invite responses.

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