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Stress and in-house counsel

“Stress-related illness is now the leading cause of long-term absence from work among non-manual workers,” according to the Financial Times (April 19, 2005 at pg. 12). The article cited a study by the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Stress stalks the corridors and cubicles of law departments. Piles of documents to review, demands on Blackberries for instant responses from many clients, bean-counting pressures to control costs, competition for promotion, conflicting messages regarding expectations and roles – the stressometer can shoot heart-stoppingly high.

British Petroleum, in collaboration with others, has devised an online risk assessment tool. If a lawyer were to answer its questions, it would produce a report identifying the lawyer’s stress level as “very,” “a bit,” or “at peace with the world.” According to the article, the software “indicates which forms of pressure are causing the most stress, suggests solutions and gives links to detailed advice” on the intranet of British Petroleum.

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