Our mission to help solicitors bounce back from tough times.
- Annual ‘Big Report’ figures released
- 203% increase in solicitors needing support
- Significant shift in the profile of solicitors helped
- New manifesto to combat issues
In the wake of COVID-19, The Solicitors’ Charity has pledged to do even more to help people bounce back from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
New research findings by the national charity has led to the launch of a dynamic new manifesto ‘For The Bounce Back’ to empower every solicitor in the UK during these tough times of personal and economic hardship.
The bold manifesto builds on the charity’s long heritage of providing solicitors with financial, emotional and practical support in times of crisis by introducing more specific actions to address the critical needs caused by COVID-19.
It pledges to:
- Widen access to the charity to enable more people to benefit from available support. In addition to helping solicitors and their dependents deal with health or disability issues, or advancing age, the charity will also tackle the challenges of having reduced or no work.
- Expand options for professional wellbeing support, including career transition counselling, coaching and training and help with interview travel and practising certificate costs, work clothing and equipment.
- Investigate ways of reducing social isolation through subscriptions and facilitating membership of support and community groups.
- Look at how it can help with the costs of day-to-day living to support individual needs. Both on a short-term basis to help stabilise situations, or longer-term as an ongoing, life-long commitment.
The charity is collaborating with an increased number of volunteers, partners and other charities to ensure the right support is available.
By listening to solicitors and learning more about their struggles and concerns through research during the pandemic, the charity gained a clearer insight into what is required to maximise its effectiveness in the future. The Bounce Back manifesto gives the UK’s solicitors a positive and permanent footing for the way ahead post-COVID.
The research revealed that the effects of furlough or lack of work in the past year have been devastating. Solicitors admit they have struggled with day-to-day living during lockdown. Around half of respondents reported that they felt overworked, that the pandemic and furlough brought mental health issues and they found working from home with obstacles such as home schooling was stressful.
Listing their priorities, a total of 61% respondents welcomed the charity’s mental health support and counselling, followed closely by employment advice, personalised career coaching, retraining funds, peer support and help with day-to-day living costs.
At the start of the pandemic, The Solicitors’ Charity set aside £1m to meet the extra demand caused by COVID-19. A total of £1,109,507 was received by 399 people as grants, not loans, during the year. This was a 203% increase of solicitors helped from the previous.
There has been a significant shift in numbers of support requests from ethnic minority communities. Roughly two thirds for the COVID-19 Personal Hardship Fund applications drive this trend. This may suggest that this section of society has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and its fall out.
Black solicitors make up just 3% of the profession in England and Wales according to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, but a higher proportion is represented in those who receive assistance from The Solicitors’ Charity.
Nearly 50% of black and 36% of Asian participants were furloughed by their employer. A further 30% of black and 46% of Asian people said they were overworked and had found homeschooling challenging.
The research also revealed an increase in the number of people without any health conditions
receiving assistance. Solicitors who work for small firms and sole practitioners were hit hardest last year, making up of 71% of the fund’s beneficiaries.
Chief Executive Nick Gallagher said: “The Solicitors’ Charity has supported solicitors at times of need or crisis since 1858. Now, we are stepping up once again to help Britain’s solicitors get back on track after COVID-19.
“The last year has been a real learning experience – we’ve listened to solicitors across the country in a range of practices and gained a greater understanding of how the profession has been impacted, what individuals really need and how they feel about the future.
“We’re on a clear mission to keep doing what we do best: to support our solicitors – and this has led to some significant changes in how we engage with them.
“Our new manifesto addresses the issues they raised and aims to produce impactful positive changes in their lives as they bounce back.”
Take action to help The Solicitors’ Charity by spreading the word to colleagues in the profession, by word of mouth or through social media channels. It also welcomes volunteers to provide peer-to-peer guidance and raise funds. You can also donate to support the charity.
Find out more and sign up to The Solicitors’ Charity Register here.