With UCAS estimating that over 70,000 students may enter higher education every year with a mental health condition, it is essential that learners are properly supported to protect their wellbeing during their legal studies.
The rigours of academic life are demanding and preparing for assessments can unsurprisingly cause anxiety. For students having to balance their studies with work or care, they face a double or triple burden which can leave aspiring lawyers stretched as they try to move forward in their career.
For prospective and practicing lawyers, caring for your mental health is often not as simple as regular exercise and daily meditation. In the wake of Mental Health Awareness Week, we are sharing some key considerations to help make forging a legal career a process that is healthy and fulfilling for you:
1. Ask yourself: how am I balancing my studies and other commitments?
Studying a legal course full-time can be daunting and many courses are structured inflexibly. If you need to balance your studies with other responsibilities like employment or care – you may benefit from part-time or remote studying.
It is also worth considering what kind of course best fits your requirements. If the demands of the traditional LLB and LPC route are daunting, considering the new more flexible, accredited and recognised routes like becoming a Chartered Legal Executive or Licensed Conveyancer, or even dually qualifying using the flexible SQE Solicitor route, may suit you better.
Our flexible courses allow you to study at your own pace to ensure that our students can prevent their studies interfering with other serious commitments.
2. What is my right path?
There are a plethora of qualifications and specialisms on offer in the law, but too often learners find themselves simply following the most common pathways. Those who follow the crowd run the risk of spending unnecessary time and costs to reach their goal or ending up in an ill-fitting role leading to additional wellbeing strain further down the line.
For example, if you know that you want to work in property, you may be better off studying a conveyancing qualification with CLC, instead of studying criminal law and the law of tort as part of a degree programme.
Taking the time to assess where you are, where you want to be, and the best route to get there is therefore a vital step in choosing the mode of study that avoids unnecessary strain on your finances and wellbeing. At Law Training Centre, our advisors are always available to offer impartial, personal advice to help find the right path for you.
3. Am I looking out for myself?
It can be tempting to push yourself ever harder with work and studies, but doing so runs the risk of experiencing burnout. The key is finding the right balance so that you can maintain a sustainable pace. Developing awareness of your own warning signs can be a crucial safeguard against being overwhelmed by stress.
A loss in motivation, persistent exhaustion, and feelings of helplessness can all be indicators that burnout is on the horizon. For many aspiring and working lawyers, stress is a familiar and even productive part of the job, but being able to recognise when it is reaching an unmanageable level can be a critical defense against a mental health crisis by allowing you to step back before it reaches that point.
4. Do I know what help is available?
If you find your mental wellbeing is suffering as a result of your work or studies, speaking to your managers or tutors about adjusting your workload can be a helpful first point of call, but do not hesitate to seek professional support.
We are a proud partner of LawCare, the mental wellbeing charity for the legal profession, who provide information and confidential support, available to all members of the legal community.
If you’re in the legal community and worried about your emotional wellbeing you can receive free, confidential, emotional support by calling the LawCare helpline on 0800 279 6888.