This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of developing a wellbeing policy, promoting collegiality within chambers, and/or encouraging mental health initiatives.
As a set based in Central London but with cases all over the country and members often out of Chambers for long periods of time, we felt that collegiality and the chance to maintain contact with each other was key to building wellbeing so that members can share ideas, support each other at stressful times and give younger members the resources to cope with the pressures of life at the Bar. Changing ways of working have reduced the need to come into chambers and there is a risk of isolation and a lack of resilience. At the same time, the pressures of modern life, the need for instant responses to work and the increasing pace of a contemporary practice put strains on both barristers and staff, leading to potential errors, ill-health and inefficiency.
We perceived a need to ensure that members and staff were supported to maintain good working practices to ensure we continue to meet client needs. Cornerstone Barristers has a reputation for its supportive and collegiate environment. This was recently recognised by the Legal Cheek awarding Cornerstone Barristers with the “Best Chambers of Colleague Supportiveness”. This recognition and has had a very positive impact on our recruitment strategies.
Mental Health Training:
Increased contact with other members of chambers and staff has meant that we feel more connected to chambers and aware of routes of support. There is an increased awareness of the issue of wellbeing at the Bar and the need to ensure we take time for ourselves – and sometimes say no to work. The clerks have also worked with us and have reached an understanding of the pressures of life at the Bar and managing a good work/life balance. In future we plan to start yoga classes in Chambers and put aside space for relaxation.
“Cornerstone Barristers has created a wellbeing strategy based on a clear business case. Building on the basics – a policy, survey and training for two members in Mental Health First Aid – they have gone on to establish their priority with a clear focus on building relationships and collegiality within chambers and now offer an impressive range of activities.”
Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group
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.
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