Skip to content

Close

Search

Temple Garden 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?

At TGC we take the wellbeing of members and staff seriously. This is because, as self-employed practitioners, Chambers knows all too well that unplanned absence (for example, due to mental and/or physical illness) can result in personal financial difficulty – which, in turn, only serves to generate further stress.

 

Over the years, Chambers have come to realise that it is important to be proactive. As such, our aim is to provide a happy, well-supported working environment for all, in order to prevent the onset of issues which may adversely affect individuals’ health and  their working practice, and to offer individual support and understanding when issues do arise.

TGC sees a focus on wellbeing as an opportunity to enable its members and staff to thrive in their careers enhancing Chambers’ reputation for excellence and for staff as a good employer.

What did the Chambers do?

TGC sees a focus on wellbeing as an opportunity to enable its members and staff to thrive in their careers enhancing Chambers’ reputation for excellence and for staff as a good employer.

Opening up dialogue As a first step, Chambers opened  up a dialogue in chambers about wellbeing issues. TGC began this process over two years ago, initially through e-mail and one to one discussion, and then through an open “town hall” meeting.

Establishing a Wellbeing Committee. TGC then established a  Wellbeing Sub-Committee, reporting to the Equality, Diversity and Wellbeing Committee, made up of members of Chambers of varying seniority and an experienced clerk.

Mental Health Training. Three members of the Wellbeing Committee have now attended Mental Health Training for the Bar

Ways of Working and related policies: TGC has recently instituted a rent review – to ensure that its rent structure takes appropriate account of the wellbeing of members and achieves our equality and diversity commitments.

 

TGC has created a shared database with its wellbeing policy (currently being finalised); Wellness for Law notes and other helpful notes/publications; fee collection guidance notes; and a guide to members of chambers with points on assisting clerks with cohesive working.

Chambers is also now developing best ways of working guidance, through discussion between clerks and barristers, to ensure ways of working and diary management allows members to manage their diary as needed but also minimises stress for clerks enhancing wellbeing on both sides

Introduction of Mentoring

  • TGC are currently establishing a formal mentoring system, to build upon the existing strong informal arrangements
  • Other wellbeing related intiatives include: Re-introduction of Chambers’ Tea to support chambers’ cohesion and social support.
  • Introduction of regular practice reviews.

TGC have taken a well-considered approach to wellbeing. We were pleased to see a focus on practice management and ways of working rather than a rush to introduce a range eye-catching initiative. Their clear focus on building solid foundations with respect to policy, governance and training are all critical in ensuring impact on this agenda.

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

  • Individual members of Chambers and staff who have recently experienced wellbeing issues in their personal/professional life have confirmed that they feel well-supported by their colleagues at TGC, and do not feel alone in addressing their issues.
  • The re-introduction of Chambers’ tea has given members of Chambers and staff an opportunity to socialise with one another. It has also proved to be an excellent way for members and staff to discuss difficulties in a more relaxed environment; this early intervention has helped to prevent escalation and to combat stress.
  • TGC’s Wellbeing Committee meetings are well-attended. We hope that the diversity of the Committee members will continue to assist with building supportive relationships across Chambers.

The introduction of regular practice reviews has provided members of Chambers with the opportunity to address head-on those issues which might otherwise have caused them stress and anxiety: for example, diary management, billings and receipts, upcoming personal matters which need to be accommodated etc.

As a result, members feel increasingly supported by the clerking team. It has also highlighted how members of Chambers can assist the clerking team with cohesive working and thereby safeguard/improve the clerks’ wellbeing as well. Above all, TGC has raised awareness and started a conversation across Chambers which we hope will continue from strength to strength.

Tips

Do

  • Listen without judgement – everyone deals with situations differently.
  • Be mindful of others and what they may be experiencing and make yourself available to assist.
  • Create a sense of belonging for all.

Don’t

  • Be complacent and allow policies and commitments to lapse or become redundant.
  • Turn away any request for a coffee/chat as rejection can fuel an already delicate position – make time.
  • Underestimate the power of the little things to make a difference – a cup of tea, a 30-minute run, a post-court debrief with your roommate, as well as being open about your own difficulties – it all helps to improve wellbeing.

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