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Managing mental health in law firms

Making sure mental health is systematically included in the agenda at management meetings helps start the conversation that will allow you to pick up the issue before it’s too late, says Paul Bennett

24 January 2019

Can you remember the last time you spoke to your staff to check on their mental health and welfare?

Mental health is a growing concern in society and in law firms, yet it can be a difficult conversation to have. Good managers approach it discretely, indirectly perhaps, but they make sure staff are ok.

The recent High Court case of Solicitors Regulation Authority v James and Others [2018] EWHC 3058 (Admin), in which I acted for one of the three solicitor parties, has turned the spotlight on to misconduct by individuals when encountering a mental health episode.

The three respondent solicitors were employed in radically different law firms: a high-street firm, a private equity-backed ABS and a respected City firm.

Mental health issues may arise in almost every law firm because it’s about illness for that individual. As managers we have to be proactive and manage the risk of mental illness impacting on our staff and partners.

We cannot presume mental...

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