The International Bar Association (IBA) has launched a global project aimed at addressing the mental wellbeing of legal professionals, particularly in light of the tensions raised by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first phase of the project is made up of two global surveys – one for individual lawyers, the other for law firms and other legal institutions, including bar associations, law societies and in-house legal departments. Available in both English and Spanish, the surveys are anonymous and take approximately ten minutes to complete.
The data gathered from the completed surveys will provide insight into:
- the pressing mental health concerns of legal professionals;
- the support they can expect to receive from their workplaces;
- how the wellbeing of lawyers and other stakeholders in the legal profession are affected by their work and working environments;
- identifying problems that each might have faced in getting the help they needed; and
- what law firms, bars and law societies should be doing to support those in distress.
IBA President Horacio Bernardes Neto has said: “The devastating effects of depression, stress, addiction and other such attacks on our mental health may have preceded the current crisis, but there is no question that COVID-19 has exacerbated their impact. Yet, just as the pandemic has posed challenges for our profession and ways of life, and in the process refocused our attention to this critical issue, so it also presents opportunities for us to change for the better in the future.’ He added: ‘These studies will provide us with a vital global snapshot of our profession. I sincerely hope that they will lead not only to the sharing of best practice guides, but also to starting conversations in those parts of the world where mental wellbeing is not spoken about so openly, and lawyers perhaps find themselves suffering in silence.”