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Mental Health Awareness Week and the Legal Profession

16 May 2019 | Emily Foges

The legal profession is well known for being a competitive, high-pressured environment that demands hard work and long hours, not least from its junior lawyers. Fresh out of law school, these trainees are hungry for success, but enthusiasm can soon dwindle as legal burnout takes hold.

A good example of this in practice is the explosion of corporate data in recent years, which has meant that a lawyer’s ability to understand an organisation by manually reading through its contracts is increasingly impossible. Due diligence has lumbered junior lawyers with endless hours of drudge work and diminished the opportunity to hone the skills they joined the profession for.

The negative impact of all of this is demonstrated by recent figures from LawCare, a mental health charity that runs a helpline for lawyers who need support, which found 48% of callers were trainees suffering from stress, depression and anxiety . In a survey by the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division (JLD), over 93% of junior lawyers say they feel stressed in their role .

The topic of mental health is, of course, extremely sensitive and it’s vital that all companies, whatever the sector, dedicate the necessary resources to tackling this issue within the workplace. However, the technology that Luminance deploys can go some way to lightening the workload for this next generation. It provides junior lawyers with a means to delegate the admin-heavy, time-consuming tasks to an AI tool, allowing them the opportunity to spend more time on meaningful work.

And it pays off in dividends for the firms themselves; if they invest in their trainees, demonstrating trust and supporting growth, rather than assigning them the ‘bottom of the pile’ tasks, these junior lawyers will learn at a faster, more motivated pace, likely leading to a stronger sense of self-worth and general wellbeing and in turn, robust retention rates.

Every law firm takes on graduates in the hope that they will continue to the senior ranks; by utilising AI, they can enhance engagement and fulfilment, and develop the superstar lawyers of the future.