Health and Wellbeing as a Trainee Solicitor
The Junior Lawyer Division recently released its Resilience and Wellbeing Survey Report for 2019. The results revealed that 93.5% of respondents (comprising law students, trainees and lawyers up to 5 years qualified) reported feeling stressed in their role during the month before they completed the survey. 24.8% of those respondents noted that they had experienced severe or extreme levels of stress during that time. To put that in perspective, that means that it is likely that all trainees will feel a general level of stress and for a quarter of trainee solicitors, that stress may be unbearable.
Life as a trainee is often stressful. There is a lot to learn and it can feel like you are starting a new job on every seat rotation. There are so many aspects of trainee life which are fun and rewarding and for me these have outweighed any stressful periods. However, it is important to take care of your mental wellbeing and find ways to manage stress levels. This will allow you to get the very best from your training contract and set you up nicely for your future legal career.
I have been at Michelmores for 9 months and in this time I have seen the importance Michelmores places on looking after mental wellbeing. I wanted to highlight some of the things that can help trainees at Michelmores deal with those stressful and busy days.
Mindful Business Charter
Managing Partner Tim Richards has recently announced that Michelmores has signed up to the Mindful Business Charter in support of mental health and wellbeing. By signing up to this charter Michelmores have committed to help change working practices which cause mental health and wellbeing issues for employees. By also supporting the City of London Lord Mayor's Appeal 'This is Me' campaign (a nationwide campaign aimed at reducing the stigma around mental health in the workplace), Michelmores are helping to foster an environment where trainees feel comfortable about speaking to their supervisor or other team members if they are feeling stressed.
To further support a proactive approach to mental wellbeing, Michelmores have partnered with a mindfulness app called Headspace. All employees, including trainees, are able to sign up to this app for free. The app has plenty of content to assist trainees in managing stress and help improve their mental wellbeing.
Yoga and the gym
All employees in the Exeter office have the opportunity to take part in weekly yoga classes. This is the perfect opportunity to get away from your desk, relax and stretch.
The Exeter office also has an on-site gym which can be used by all employees. Many of the trainees use the gym before or after work or at lunchtime. There are also various classes to take part in throughout the week which are run by a qualified personal trainer. Physical activity is known to reduce stress levels so it is great to have a gym that is so accessible!
Taking a break
Trainees at Michelmores are encouraged to maintain a healthy work-life balance. There is a Michelmores running club and a cycle network. There is also a Michelmores choir who meet once a week. Trainees are also enrolled as members of the Junior Lawyers Division which organises various social events. These groups and events give trainees the opportunity to meet people across the firm and build a support network, as well as having the opportunity to step away from their desk and focus their mind on something non-work related.
Trainee Liaison Network and buddies
This scheme is run by a group of solicitors who have completed their training contract at Michelmores and fully understand the stresses and worries that can arise in trainee life. If a trainee has a concern this is often their first port of call. Conversations are confidential so you feel able to speak freely and honestly. They are able to give suggestions and support and can anonymously provide feedback to more senior members of staff to find a solution.
Michelmores prides itself on its community-feel and collaborative working environment. As part of this Michelmores actively encourages all members of staff to get together and discuss what they are currently working on over a free coffee. This is open to anyone in the firm and is not only a good way to understand what different people are working on but also to meet new people and make friends across the firm.
Trainees will undoubtedly have stressful days, which are a normal part of working life, but it is important to manage that stress and enjoy your time as a trainee. Positive mental wellbeing is at the forefront of Michelmores' agenda and trainees have plenty of support to ensure they get the very best from their training contract.