Solicitor helpline widens reach to advise barristers

Solicitors’ helpline Solcare has rebranded itself as Lawcare and created a branch for pupils and barristers.

Chief executive Barry Pritchard said: “Barristers and solicitors have much the same problems but they manifest themselves differently. We have given barristers their own helpline because they might feel more comfortable with their own telephone number.”

The line was set up last month and has been inundated with calls from students. “We get calls from students suffering from stress because they are trying to get pupillages or training contracts,” Pritchard said.

He added that although many firms offer confidential advice, staff fear information will be leaked to their managers, and many City lawyers are suffering with drug problems in silence. “I am confident [drugs] are a problem in the City,” said Pritchard. “There is an acknowledged drug problem
among bankers and accountants and as City lawyers work shoulder to shoulder with them it is very unlikely they will get away scot-free. But people are not willing to talk about it because admitting they have a problem could put their practising certificate at risk,” he said.

One third of callers report alcohol-related problems. Ten per cent of those are trainees and 66 per cent have been practising for less than five years.