Well-Being and Resilience for Junior Lawyers

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Doughty Street Chambers

54 Doughty Street

London

WC1N 2LS

United Kingdom

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This event is focused on promoting the maintenance of positive mental health and learning how to actively address your own well-being and manage vicarious trauma. It is essential that junior lawyers learn to maintain their own welfare in order to lead sustainable careers and provide the best client care.

The event will provide an open and frank discussion about the common issues that junior lawyers face at the beginning of their careers, often resulting in high stress and associated mental health issues. We will hear from successful barristers and solicitors and their own experiences of dealing with the myriad of demands.

The topics of discussion will include:

  • Panel members’ experiences of the profession in terms of well-being;

  • How to maintain your own well-being and build your resilience;

  • How the culture of the legal profession silences those suffering from mental health issues and how this can be addressed;

  • Protections for pupils/trainees in terms of bullying, harassment or generally inappropriate behaviour which will inevitably impact on well-being;

  • What steps the profession can take to improve.

We want to create a dialogue around the work pressures, both internal and external, and how to best overcome these whilst striving to succeed in an extremely competitive sector.

This will be a panel-style event which touches upon all these issues (and more) for junior barristers and solicitors. We want the dialogue to be led by experiences of junior members of the profession during the panel section then move onto a discussion about 'what the profession can do to improve' during the second part of the event.

This event is open to those in the legal profession who are under 10 years call/qualification and also those aiming for careers as barristers and solicitors.

We will be hearing from the following lawyers at the event:

  • Mary-Rachel McCabe (Doughty Street Chambers);

  • Danielle Manson (Garden Court);

  • Michael Etienne (No5 Chambers);

  • Mollie Ferguson (Thomson Snell & Passmore);

  • Malvika Jaganmohan (St Ives Chambers);

  • Rachel Francis (Claiming Space);

  • Gimhani Eriyagolla (Hodge Jones and Allen).

This event will be subject to the Chatham House rule to encourage open discussion.

Please find a bit more information about our speakers below:

Mary-Rachel McCabe is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. She specialises in social welfare law, including housing, community care and mental capacity law. She has particular expertise in children’s rights and regularly acts in urgent judicial review proceedings for children who are street homeless, and in damages claims against local authorities for delays in issuing care proceedings. Mary-Rachel also has a busy Court of Protection practice, in which she is frequently instructed by the Official Solicitor. Mary-Rachel recently wrote an article for Counsel Magazine about why clerks and senior barristers should make it easier for junior barristers to say no to overload. In her spare time, Mary-Rachel enjoys doing yoga and eating tapas (not at the same time).

Danielle Manson is a third six pupil at Garden Court Chambers where she provides representation for defendants in all areas of criminal law. Prior to pupillage, Danielle held roles at JUSTICE and within the Innocence Project.

Michael Etienne is a tenant at No5 Chambers and has interests across the spectrum of public law and human rights and related civil actions. He also has an established background in cases concerning individuals affected by mental ill-health.

Mollie Ferguson is a contentious probate solicitor at Thomson Snell & Passmore. Mollie is active in the junior lawyers’ community, sitting on the Executive Committee of the Junior Lawyers Division and as a committee member for the Women Lawyers Division of the Law Society. She is passionate about well-being and mental health awareness. She recently wrote an article for the Law Society Gazette about what the legal profession can do to provide more support to lawyers, and one for The Lawyer on how individuals can tackle Imposter Syndrome, something she (like a great many others) has personal experience of.

Rachel Francis is a barrister practising in immigration and family law with particular expertise in working with vulnerable clients. She is the former co-chair of Young Legal Aid Lawyers. During her time as co-chair, Rachel saw first-hand the effects of working with trauma in the legal profession. She was jointly responsible for the strategic direction of the group and for co-ordinating its campaigning, promoting social mobility and protecting the interests of junior lawyers who believe in the importance of legal-aided work as a means of achieving social justice. In July 2019 Rachel was awarded the LAPG Special Award for outstanding commitment to access to justice. Following her role as co-chair of Young Legal Aid Lawyers, Rachel co-founded Claiming Space with Joanna Fleck. Claiming Space is a social enterprise that creates safe, non-judgment space for legal practitioners to learn, share and reflect on their practice. It does this through facilitating regular peer group support groups and offering innovative tailored training for lawyers who work with vulnerable populations covering topics from: self-care, burnout and vicarious trauma (theory and practical guidance) to yoga, meditation and stress / client management. Claiming Space's ultimate goal is to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are helped by lawyers who are well-supported to deal with stress, vicarious trauma and burnout.

Malvika Jaganmohan is a tenant at St Ives Chambers and practises in all areas of family law. Having suffered a serious mental health crisis during her pupillage year, she has been vocal on Twitter about mental health issues and is proactive in encouraging conversations within the legal profession around wellbeing. She has a particular interest in bolstering workplace protections for trainees and pupils. Malvika is on the Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) committee and is currently helping to organise a YLAL event in Birmingham (on 10th February 2020) around challenging mental health stigma in the legal profession. She is also a founding member of Women in Family Law.

Gimhani Eriyagolla is a solicitor in Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors’ civil liberties team. She previously worked at Irwin Mitchell in their public law and human rights department after completing her training contract at Bhatt Murphy solicitors. She worked as a paralegal for a number of years in actions against the police, inquests, public law and immigration. She currently specialises in civil claims against public authorities and representing bereaved families at inquests.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

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Date and Time

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Doughty Street Chambers

54 Doughty Street

London

WC1N 2LS

United Kingdom

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