Legal sector seeks online support during lockdown

A recent webinar hosted by X-Press Legal Services, a nationwide property search firm, tackled the issue of mental health in the legal sector as pressure mounts on conveyancers and solicitors to continue to keep the property market going despite the challenges of social distancing.

Kate Burt, a renowned regulatory solicitor, professional mentor, and industry speaker recently delivered a webinar to an audience of over 300 conveyancers and solicitors on tackling the pros and cons of the impact of COVID-19 on legal professionals.

Lynne Lister, director of X-Press Legal Services commented: “The pandemic has had varying impacts on individuals in the legal sector.  Some may have found that they have experienced a better work-like balance whereas others have experienced heightened anxiety and stress due to isolation and lack of coping mechanisms.”

The webinar focussed on the potential risk to the legal sector of loss of mental clarity due to increased anxiety and stress, meaning that professionals could become more prone to distractions and mistakes, and objectivity and empathy could be compromised. The webinar focussed on examples of the application of honesty and integrity when dealing with poor mental health.

Serious failures to meet a firm’s standards or a serious breach of its regulatory requirements may result in a firm taking regulatory action against practitioners whose integrity might be compromised when under stress. A UK workforce report issued in August 2020 noted that 27% reported increase in imposter syndrome/ self-doubt during home working and that a quarter (25%) considered they had been negatively affected in terms of training and support.

Kate Burt comments: “For firms looking to mitigate the risk of regulatory breaches due to the impact of poor mental health then culture is absolutely key.  Leaders should encourage openness in raising issues when things go wrong and consider bringing in outside advice and support in relation to training, risk management, culture change or even introduce a compliance support line for staff.”

X-Press Legal Services and the West Morland Law Society highlighted the work of LawCare – a charity specialising in mental health and wellbeing for the legal community. Its helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm: 0800 279 6888.

To find out more about future free webinars being held by X-Press Legal Services, including cyber security and residential conveyancing issues visit https://xpresslegal.co.uk/training-events/