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Ropewalk 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.

Although rewarding and interesting, working in Chambers can also be demanding and pressured. Individuals deal with these pressures in different ways but there may be times when anyone can feel overwhelmed.

Ropewalk Chambers has created and trained six Wellbeing Officers who are on hand to offer support and signposting to members. They have also made direct links between chambers activities and the drivers of wellbeing in their wellbeing policy, in doing so they demonstrate the way chambers can educate members and staff in building and maintaining resilience.

What was the business (other case) for action?

They believe that any member of their workforce who is struggling should be given every opportunity to feel better and if there is a cost, either in financial or time terms, there should be no hesitation in offering assistance.  No-one should have to deal with Wellbeing issues on their own.

What did the Chambers do?

  • Their Wellbeing Policy is contained within the Handbook which is issued to all personnel.  The Policy is short as their experience is that important documents should be as accessible as possible and if they are too wordy, they will not be read.  The policy identifies online resources such as the Wellbeing at the Bar website and LawCare. The policy was introduced at a Chambers’ meeting.
  • Wellbeing is now a default agenda item at their monthly Management Committee meetings.
  • Reminders that assistance is available are regularly made as part of the post-Management Committee reporting.
  • Wellbeing forms part of the annual practice development meeting with the Senior Clerk.
  • Wellbeing concerns can be raised at any time. They have six Wellbeing Officers who have received Building Resilience and Wellbeing training from the Samaritans.  The Head of Chambers, Deputy Senior Clerk and Head of Finance and Information Security have also received training. The same course has also been offered to their workforce.  These Wellbeing Officers are on hand to offer support and signposting.

 

  • They have also increased their collegiate offerings, such as a weekend walking outing several weeks ago.
  • Chambers offers a pathway to each of the main drivers of wellbeing (Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give – see https://www.wellbeingatthebar.org.uk/staying-well/) which are referenced in their policy e.g. assisting with pro bono work initiatives, playing for/or supporting Ropewalk Dynamo, contributing to their various corporate social responsibility initiatives or simply having a coffee with a colleague.

Their aim is to engender an esprit de corps amongst their personnel.

Ropewalk Ramble

“Ropewalk Chambers demonstrate a solid understanding of wellbeing and has clearly made a commitment to this agenda by equipping staff and members with the knowledge and skills to support their colleagues. They appreciate the value of simple initiatives to support wellbeing (finding ways to bring chambers together) and we were delighted to see the connection made explicitly in their wellbeing policy between the drivers of wellbeing and more general chambers activities.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

  • Barristers who have received support have been very positive about how chambers assisted them and are now thriving in practice.

Tips

  • Act quickly and be sympathetically positive – barristers quite often feel that they just should “get on with it”. You may have to insist on reassigning work and ensuring a break.
  • Train staff to recognise warning signs and to implement workable solutions (e.g. a rent-free period)
  • Keep your wellbeing policy short – Ropewalk’s experience is that important documents should be as accessible as possible and if they are too wordy, they simply will not be read.

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