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Barristers inherently face very specific challenges on a daily basis. If you need some help click on support to find contact details and advice on seeking support.

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The professional lives of clerks and chambers’ staff include many potential stressors. If you don’t know how to broach an issue, want advice on your options.

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These resources have been designed specifically for those who have completed their BPTC and for pupils up to tenancy.

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Resources

Our vision

Find out what Wellbeing at the Bar aims to achieve.

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Policy & practice

Guidance on how to introduce wellbeing policies and initiatives and on tackling a wellbeing issue in chambers.

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Media pack

Logos and banners to help you to promote wellbeing.

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Case studies

Examples of successful wellbeing initiatives adopted by chambers, Specialist Bar Associations and the Inns of Court.

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Support for barristers

Who to talk to, how to get help in coping with the pressures and demands of life at the Bar.

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Who to talk to and how to get help, resources are for clerks and staff themselves.

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Who to talk to and how to get help for those who have completed their BPTC and for pupils up to tenancy.

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College Chambers

College Chambers, like many Chambers, have recognised the need for better awareness of wellbeing within the profession. They knew that in order to help their members and staff perform well, their mental wellbeing needed to be actively considered and cared for.

What was the ‘business’ (other case) for action?

College Chambers also recognised the importance of consistency across chambers in attitudes to wellbeing for pupils, junior and senior barristers, those in management, administrative staff and clerks. They felt that if everyone was given the ability to thrive it would have a positive impact on professional and lay clients that College Chambers seek to assist.

As a business, College Chambers also wished to be recognised as a good employer and a forward-thinking set in relation to wellbeing. They felt consideration of wellbeing would also bring benefits in terms of reputation and the ability to continue to attract good candidates – both barristers and staff.

They also wanted to ensure all members of chambers were beneficiaries of their approach and to close the gap between the most senior and most junior members of chambers.

What did Chambers do?

College Chambers created a Wellbeing policy with duties and expectations clearly set out for all who work in chambers.

The policy included:

  • Appointment of a Wellbeing Officer
  • Monthly updates (tools and resources) to be provided to all staff, barristers and pupils on wellbeing
  • Creation of a confidential line of communication for raising concerns regarding colleagues’ wellbeing
  • Monthly events organised for everyone (sports, social drinks, eating out, informal gathering in chambers)
  • An annual review of the wellbeing policy (seeking input from everyone across chambers)
  • Appointing a mentor for each pupil from the time they begin their pupillage

Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

In light of the Covid-19 crisis a range of events have been organised to support wellbeing, including:

  • A weekly zoom quiz (with all Barristers, pupils and staff welcome)
  • Coffee catch up sessions (every week) – also used as a marketing opportunity
  • Wednesday fitness (via zoom)
  • A regular (weekly) message from the Head of Chambers and (monthly) message from the Wellbeing officer
  • Creation of a Chambers’ What’s App group to keep everyone in touch

What were the results?

  • Chambers has created a more collegiate atmosphere. This has been heightened during the Covid-19 crisis, with more awareness of individual staff, clerks’ and barristers’ anxieties in relation to finances, workload, career paths, family and health.
  • Better lines of communication have assisted in terms of ensuring that there is an understanding of difficult issues pre-empting a rumour-mill which could further anxiety and confusion.
  • Members and staff are more motivated from regularly meeting and discussing general personal and professional matters and concerns.
  • There is better balance between life and work, with more social events increasing the sense of togetherness and inclusion.
  • Every pupil knows from the beginning of their time in chambers what support they will get with regard to their wellbeing
  • More generally, a greater general awareness of wellbeing issues has enabled everyone to better identify those who need some help, and to support others.

“College Chambers have taken a thoughtful approach to wellbeing – demonstrated by their very sensible tips (dos and don’ts). It’s great to see them build on the foundations they had in place before the Covid-19 crisis to keep everyone connected and take care of their members and staff”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

Tips

Do:

  • Create a clear policy which sets out the assistance in place for all in chambers, not just a select few.
  • Ensure that the Wellbeing Officer is an approachable individual who junior and senior members of chambers are willing to engage with.
  • Try and ensure consistent organisation of events with forward planning and save the date notices provided in advance.

Don’t:

  • Avoid difficult conversations, ensure that individuals are aware that wellbeing issues are wide ranging and can start as trivial matters, and that no matter is too small or too big to be raised with the Wellbeing officer, or as a general wellbeing issue in chambers.
  • Overthink events or try and plan too big – small events which cost very little are just as effective as events which require more planning.
  • Ignore members of chambers. Encourage input from chambers, staff, barristers and pupils at all levels to put forward their views as to what they want to see in terms of wellbeing support in chambers.

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