This is an unusual blog – for me. I am not ranting about injustice but sharing a growing concern and canvassing opinion. Over the last few months I have become increasingly disturbed by the numbers of lawyers – particularly young lawyers, who get themselves into terrible difficulties when things go wrong.
I posted a blog about this a few weeks ago, which had one of my biggest ever responses –
There seems to be no end to these distressing stories.
This week we have read about the voluntary striking off of a young solicitor who backdated 23 letters to ‘giver herself breathing space’ –
Today there is the story of another young lawyer who has been suspended from practice after fabricating a letter which was given to an SRA investigator –
How many times do we have to say it? The short-term discomfort of admitting a mistake, vastly outweighs the horrors of disciplinary action which inevitably follow efforts to cover things up. Do our young lawyers really have no one that they can talk to? The answer to that is – of course they do. Most caring firms will have an open-door policy, which is why these incidents are rare. But they can still be devastating for the lawyer and the firm. And there are clearly a minority of cases where the lawyer does not feel able to speak to a manager.
With all of this in mind I have been thinking about offering a facility, via my consultancy, to enable lawyers – of whatever level – to have a confidential discussion if they find themselves floundering for whatever reason. This will be at no cost to the lawyer. So three questions come from this –
1. Would something like this serve a purpose? I am aware of the fantastic work done by Law Care - https://www.lawcare.org.uk/ . They certainly offer the best service for those lawyers who need care and support. The Law Society also have an excellent pastoral care helpline - 020 7320 5795. What I have in mind is a much more low-key affair – a confidential sounding board for lawyers who are facing an immediate problem and do not feel that they have anyone to turn to. This might involve anything from a simple word of wisdom to a signposting to someone like Law Care if needed,
2. Would there be scope for a wider network of senior and experience lawyers to form a wider group?
3. Is there enough support out there anyway?
Answers on a postcard