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Spire Barristers

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

Following a rebrand from a common law set in 2017 and a move to new premises in 2018, Spire Barristers recognised an opportunity to establish a new and more healthy working environment for both members and staff. This coincided with increased awareness of the Bar Council wellbeing initiative, which encouraged them to re-examine Chambers working practices.

 

 

What was the business (other case) for action?

By ensuring the wellbeing of Chambers staff and members, Spire recognised they could reduce absence from work for stress related illness, and last minute returns from counsel who were feeling overburdened.

Chambers were also  recruiting members in order to grow the set and wanted to include wellbeing initiatives within their offering to new members.

 

 

What did the Chambers do?

  • Chambers started by producing a wellbeing policy; as well as updating and refreshing Chambers’ maternity, paternity, and equality & diversity policies. Spire then provided information to all members/staff on who to contact if they need help, but don’t wish to speak to anyone in chambers.
  • Chambers then looked at ways to build on existing activity. Where members of chambers/staff have previously joined in charity runs, Spire now actively encourages this activity. Chambers also had an existing tradition of Friday bagels, and recognised this as valuable time for participants to chat and eat together.
  • Chambers then considered introducing and developing other social and physical events, which improve mental health. Chambers aim to go for monthly drinks every month where possible (Chambers are also currently thinking about introducing an annual event such as a day away).

Spire are also in the process of establishing a charitable foundation, the Spire Foundation, which will provide members with the opportunity to become trustees and support causes that are important to them. In the near future, Spire plan to bring external speakers into chambers to discuss wellbeing issues.

“Spire have used a focus on wellbeing to review policies which contribute to member and staff wellbeing. Having first got the basics right – a policy and support in place for those who need it – they are now building up activity, looking at what already works in chambers and doing more of it.

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

Feedback is that clarity over policies and on support available for anyone in distress is helpful.

Tips

  1. Start with small changes
  2. Keep motivated and be inclusive in all events
  3. Ask for views from others inside and outside chambers
  4. Don’t rush and throw a lot of initiatives that overload people
  5. Include everyone even if they are unable be involved
  6. Don’t be afraid to get outside input

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