You’re not alone if you find working in the law stressful. As rewarding and stimulating as legal work can be, Law Society data shows that 57% of lawyers find their job very stressful. Issues such as long hours, complex cases, demanding schedules, challenging clients and pressures specific to particular practice areas can all give rise to wellbeing challenges.
Prioritising your wellbeing will help you to build resilience and healthy coping strategies for times when you’re feeling stressed.
If you’re an employer, better staff wellbeing can support your bottom line by reducing staff turnover, helping to attract new talent and creating a better client experience.
The Law Society is committed to supporting lawyers to take positive steps to actively care for their health and wellbeing. Current Practising Well initiatives provide lawyers with options to support their wellbeing at work. Options include:
Our Mentoring Programme is a free way to connect with other lawyers and support each other professionally, wherever you are in New Zealand. The programme is open to all lawyers and people who are admitted but are not yet practising or are between roles and do not currently hold a practising certificate. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Law Society has partnered with Vitae to offer a free and confidential counselling service. The service provides for up to 6 free confidential sessions for anyone in a legal workplace, whether you're a lawyer or not.
Our 13 nationwide branches provide opportunities education, connection and collegiality with other lawyers in your area. Contact your branch to find out what’s on offer.
The Law Society’s CLE offers continuing legal education including new topics and emerging developments across the legal sector. Presented by experts drawn from the profession and the judiciary, courses range from advanced litigation skills to trusts law, to immigration and protection tribunal appeals. Our branches also offer training opportunities, contact your local branch to find out what’s on offer.
The National Friends Panel is made up of lawyers who can be contacted on a confidential basis with questions or concerns relating to practice issues. This can include specific situations you are unsure about and what to expect in a legal workplace more generally. Additionally, several lawyers are also available to discuss sensitive matters such as workplace harassment.
The Complaints Advisory Panel is made up of lawyers who are available to be contacted on a confidential basis by lawyers who are the subject of a complaint.
We provide a list of lawyers who present themselves as available to work as locums for when you need a break for recreational or health reasons, and to provide cover for short term absences.
The Law Society has a dedicated 0800 phone line (0800 0800 28) where members of the legal community can discuss sensitive matters with a Law Society staff member.
Law Care is a confidential point of contact for lawyers and law firm employees who have experienced, witnessed, or been affected by sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other unacceptable behaviour.
Lawyers experiencing wellbeing challenges are encouraged to take advantage of the support services on offer.
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Healthline – 0800 611 116 (to get help from a registered nurse 24/7)
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Depression helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202
Alcohol drug helpline– 0800 787 797
Gambling helpline – 0800 654 655
Anxiety phone line – 0800 269 4389
OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463 (sexuality and gender identity)
The Mental Health Foundation also lists more options for specialist helplines.
This website helps New Zealanders recognise and understand depression and anxiety. It includes The Journal – an online self-help programme.
Like Minds, Like Mine is a national anti-stigma campaign. The aim of this programme is to increase social inclusion and to reduce stigma and discrimination towards people with experience of mental illness.
Visit Like Minds, Like Mine