We know how hard it is to make a living in legal aid and that the work is pressurised and demanding. On top of this, the impact of COVID-19 has been profound and brought with it the stresses of remote working and, for many, the need to juggle work and caring responsibilities. Over the course of the pandemic we have been speaking to practitioners about their wellbeing and how LAPG can provide support to manage the stress, burn-out, anxiety and vicarious trauma they reported.
We are delighted to announce that with support from Linklaters LLP we are launching a pilot scheme offering practitioners access to two free support services. So many of you who responded to our survey last year spoke about the benefits of peer support and these sessions are intended to provide a safe space to reflect and compare experiences about issues facing providers both inside and outside work. These may include economic, physical and emotional effects on wellbeing and also the impact on those around you; colleagues, families and friends.
The pilot will run for the next six months in collaboration with Claiming Space and Metzer Therapy.
Claiming Space will offer small group sessions for individuals in the evenings, comprising training and peer support workshops. The sessions will be run by Joanna Fleck and Rachel Francis, co-directors of Claiming Space and co-authors of ‘Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession’.
The sessions will cover topics including:
burnout and boundaries
self-care and collective care
The sessions will begin with an overview of the month’s theme, including research and theory. The group will then be split into two sub-groups of around 15 people each for reflective discussions;
for junior practitioners (10 years PQE or less)
senior practitioners (over 10 years PQE/or those in management/supervisory roles)*
*Please contact us if you are unsure as to which group would be most suitable for you.
These sessions will be held on the second Tuesday of each month from 17.00-18.30, starting 13 April 2021. They will run for six months. It is important for the group that you are able to attend as many of the sessions as possible, although we do understand that it may not be possible to attend every one.
The sessions will be confidential spaces for you to learn, share and reflect on your legal practice.
Metzer Therapy will be available to work with organisations and teams who feel that they would benefit from additional support as a group. This year, when the pandemic has thrown up so many work-related issues, we thought it might be helpful to provide a space for any teams, departments or small organisations who want a neutral space to think about, share and explore workplace issues in greater depth. Sessions will be run by Sylvia Metzer who has over twenty years’ experience as an organisational therapist.
LAPG will be funding two teams/organisations through this programme as part of our pilot scheme. One individual must book on behalf of their team and supply individual contact details for each participant.
Groups of 6 – 12 people will meet for five 1-hour session on the following dates: commencing on 19 April, with future sessions on 10 May, 7 June, 28 June, 19 July.
The two support processes will run concurrently, one from 13.00-14.00 and the other from 17.00-18.00. It’s very important for members of the group to attend all sessions.
The focus for each session will be agreed by the team at the start of each session.
Booking: email firstname.lastname@example.org stating group size and preference of time slot. Sylvia Metzer will then send a zoom link when group numbers are finalised.
Services will be provided in strictest confidence, with free and direct access to service providers, and personal information retained only by the service providers in accordance with their privacy and data protection policies.
As this is a pilot project we will be collecting anonymised feedback from participants to assess the effectiveness of the service and help us shape future services.
Please note that LAPG will not be delivering these services or becoming a therapeutic service provider. We have sourced funding for and providers of support services in response to concerns from practitioners and feedback to our survey and our role will be to ensure that practitioners have the information they need to make informed choices about which service(s) to access.