On 17th January 2023, the industry regulator, the Bar Standards Board decided to hand down an order imposing a ban on a barrister preventing him from continuing to practise after evidence emerged
In-House Lawyers Snowed Under
On 30th September 2022 news emerged which is a lesson for all legal professionals and concerned a senior legal professional who had been removed from the prestigious roll of solicitors for apparently misleading her respective client about both the case management aspects of and the outcome of a legal claim.
What Happened In the Case?
The lawyer had accrued over a quarter of a century of expertise within the legal profession. However, all seemingly came crashing down when an investigation revealed the:
- overlooking case management deadlines
- evidence submitted outside limitation and
- acceptance of a lower offer than had been previously refused.
Just over half of those in-house legal professionals who were approached by research organization Gartner for their opinion disclosed that they had experienced exhaustion, fatigue, and tiredness. When the organizers approached the upper echelons of this survey and closely examined those who suffered mental health conditions around sixty percent confessed to experiencing the seemingly deliberate holding up, slowing down, and obstructing projects. However, the most alarming part of this research was the significant statistic that around seventy percent of those approached by the survey organizers for a response were considering, intending, and taking the ultimate step and terminating their positions within their respective businesses.
Nothing to See Here?
On one view many laypersons may believe that this is an issue for individual members of the workforce. There may be persons reading this last statement who will be wholly in agreement with it. However, the organizers of this survey reached seemingly the polar opposite conclusion. This was the view that the issue was a major issue for commercial organizations to contend with which thought leaders, decision-makers, and those persons occupying upper-level executive positions are accountable to contend with.
Bad To Worse?
Some research was carried out as part of its respective investigation, and it made the bold prediction that if the problem of individual and collective burnout was not tackled appropriately it could potentially lead to the following problems significantly and negatively impacting business income including not limited to:
- decreasing levels of self-esteem, team spirit, self-confidence, and interaction
- rocketing turnover and
- nosediving productivity.
How Much May this Cost?
Arguably the most eye-catching aspect of the Stanford Social Innovation Review revealed that these feelings of tiredness experienced by the workforce were costing commercial organizations annually an average of just over £100 to £150 million.
Lay persons in the outside world may believe that this issue is easy to rectify. However, once again they would seemingly be mistaken in this belief as the problem is:
In light of the findings of this research, those responsible for managing in-house legal departments should be identifying and supporting the needs of their team members to mitigate the risk of burnout by following the following strategy including but not limited to:
- closely monitoring the teamwork allocation process
- ensuring colleagues are not taking on too much work
- identifying those members of the workforce who are fatigued
- the Gartner survey revealed that this strategy mitigated the risk of burnout by just shy of twenty percent and
- they also suggested that businesses should be aligning the work they are carrying out with their professional goals.
Considering this approach amongst other measures will mitigate the risk of suffering from burnout.
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SOURCES USED WHEN WRITING THIS ARTICLE
[SOURCE 1] Hyde, John – Dishonest solicitor ‘too embarrassed to tell bosses of her mistake – Law Society Gazette – 3 September 2022- Dishonest solicitor ‘too embarrassed to tell bosses of her mistake | News | Law Gazette
[SOURCE 2] Acting with honesty – Solicitors Regulation Authority – 25 November 2019 - SRA | Acting with honesty | Solicitors Regulation Authority
[SOURCE 3] Wen, Kara – 5 tips to prevent legal burnout on your in-house team - 11 August 2022 - 5 tips to prevent legal burnout on your in-house team (simplelegal.com)
[SOURCE 4] Van Der Meulen – Gartner Survey Shows Corporate Lawyers Exhausted Since the Pandemic – 7 October 2021 – Gartner - Gartner Survey Shows Corporate Lawyers Exhausted Since the Pandemic