Author Janet Chan, Suzanne Poynton and Jasmine Bruce
Published December 2014
Report Type Affiliated publication
Subject Court processes and delay; Mental health; Socioeconomic factors and crime
Keywords legal practice, Australia, work conditions, mental health, stress, anxiety, work culture

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This article presents findings from a national survey of nearly 1000 Australian legal practitioners conducted in 2012-13 to examine the working conditions, work experience, and health and wellbeing of solicitors and barristers who practice in a variety of settings. This is the first Australian study to investigate the extent to which stress, anxiety and depression among lawyers are associated with the conditions and culture of legal practice. The results show a remarkably high level of self-reported stress and negative emotional states amongst this sample of practitioners, which is pervasive across different legal settings and demographic groups. Excessive job demands, minimal control over workload and spillover of work commitments into personal life are just some of the work-related factors which are significantly correlated with poorer mental health outcomes. Concerns about the structure and culture of legal practice in Australia are also highlighted.