Hannah Beko

The author of ‘The Authentic Lawyer’ is showing legal firms how to put wellbeing at the forefront of their agendas.

Hannah Beko, a mum-of-three, penned the book which tells lawyers how to work smarter, not harder – and really get that work-life balance under control.

After more than two decades in the legal profession and realising the major impact that chronic stress had on her life, she wants law firms to make the changes to relieve stress for workers.

She says that one main reason for high stress levels is the huge pressure on legal professionals to deal with billing, chargeable hours targets and write-off explanations among other tasks.

Hannah said: “I was self-employed with no time recording, and no set targets. Very often my coaching clients who are looking for more work life balance, admit it’s not their firms asking them to work long hours, they have trouble switching off and calling it a day.  Work is never done.

“Character traits that tend to bring us into law – the ones law firms even hire for – include people pleasing, being a yes person, perfectionist tendencies and similar.

“These sorts of personalities have a higher likelihood of succumbing to stress and ultimately burnout.  Especially combined with a profession who saw finishing on time, taking your holidays, resting and recuperating, as laziness or a demonstration of a lack of commitment.”

Lawyers are still leaving the profession in droves is because health and wellbeing matters to them and while those practising are told wellbeing is on the agenda, the numbers of lawyers suffering is still increasing.

Hannah added: “Management buy-in is to blame for stress too. If those in higher up positions continue to prioritise the billing and client work, then those they are a role model to, will do the same.

“We need to start investing in our people and understanding what support they need, then providing it.”