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Help for barristers

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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Help for clerks and staff

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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Help for students and pupils

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

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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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Support for clerks and staff

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

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Support for students and pupils

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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Assistance programme

The confidential 24/7 helpline with access to counselling for barristers, pupils, clerks and chambers’ staff.

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Alcohol addiction

Alcohol is the cheapest it has ever been. These days it is socially acceptable to drink at home as well as socially.

In the UK the number of licensed premises has increased by over 45% since 1970. In 2014 alcohol was almost 54% more affordable than in 1980. It is easy to see how addictions and dependency become sustainable in all parts of society. Although the overall trend in alcohol consumption has been an increase in abstinence, particularly in younger people (under 30), middle-aged people (age 45 – 64) are the least likely to abstain from alcohol.

For confidential help, call

On calling, you will be asked to identify whether you are a self-employed Barrister, or a member of the IBC* or LPMA*

0800 169 2040

*See member area of IBC/LPMA websites for member access code.

Quick thinking and intellectual capacity is a vital strength in the legal profession and can be significantly damaged by alcohol dependence.

Alcohol is a depressant which means than long-term use leads to poor concentration, difficulty in thinking clearly, challenges with problem-solving and short-term memory loss.

You might also ask yourself these questions;

  1. Do I always feel the ‘need’ to have a drink?
  2. Does my drinking frequently result in problems in life such as lateness, letting people down, inability to commit to promises made at work or personally?
  3. Do other people worry about or ‘nag’ me about my drinking, wishing I would cut down or stop?

If you can answer positively to two or more of these then it may be time to acknowledge and address your drinking habits.

How can I reduce my drinking at home?

There are some simple things you can do straightaway to reduce your drinking at home and in social situations;

At home:

  1. Have at least 2 dry days per week
  2. Change your routine. Drinking can become habitual, our brains quickly ‘re-wire’ with repeated learned behaviours. You could try changing your routine – if you usually have a drink when you get home, could you distract yourself with another activity?
  3. Pace yourself. Change4Life (the UK government health promotion service) advocate ‘pacing and spacing’ – sipping your drink slowly to appreciate the flavours and drinking a soft drink or water after each alcoholic drink
  4. Try lower alcohol drinks – there are plenty of low alcohol wines and beers on the market
  5. Include food in your drinking so you aren’t drinking on an empty stomach. Put the bottle away once you’ve filled your glass
  6. Go for a smaller bottle of beer or glass of wine than usual
  7. Buy a drinks measure so you are fully aware of the volume you are drinking
  8. Distract yourself. When you’re tempted to have a drink, try an active distraction technique – ring a friend, read a chapter of your book, or take a brisk walk
  9. Take part in a ‘dry’ month and raise money for your favourite charity. There are plenty of organised ones or kick-start your own with friends. Write down how you feel physically and mentally as a result. This record enables you to reflect on personal success.

How can I cut down on my drinking socially?

Socially in the UK it is both easy and socially acceptable to drink alcohol. It can be really hard to reduce your alcohol intake when so much of our daily lives are surrounded by opportunities to drink. However, here are some great tips from Change4Life.

  1. Can you meet your friends somewhere other than a pub or restaurant? Perhaps a coffee shop
  2. Be ready with your reason for not drinking when you’re offered ‘just another one’. The quicker you can respond the more likely people are to accept it and move on
  3. Tell your friends and family you are cutting down and enlist their support
  4. Sit down to drink. Apparently we drink more when we are standing up. Finding a seat in the pub may be all you need to encourage you to slow down
  5. Try a new hobby. Could you focus on that with a friend instead of going for your usual drink?
  6. Offer to be the designated driver in exchange for all your soft drinks being bought by your passengers. Many find this a great incentive to remain sober for the night

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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’

2 in 3 barristers feel that showing signs of stress equals weakness