“Stress” and “burnout” are common phenomena in our profession

Resources for lawyer wellness and support

“Stress” and “burnout” are common phenomena in our profession but many of us don't even realize that they are taking a toll on our physical, mental, and emotional states. Stress results in poorer-quality work, disrupted health and higher turnover. In the long term, stress can cause people to use, misuse or even become addicted to alcohol or drugs – often without recognizing the addiction. And most of us do not appreciate the costly effect of stress and burnout on the firms we work for. The pathway forward is to start now.

Watch the video below of Su Forbes, KC. 

Prioritizing Mental Health

Su Forbes, KC
Chief Operating Officer, Lawyers Indemnity Fund

If you or someone you know requires support, do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Addressing mental health pressures of COVID-19

Resources available to help with the mental health and social consequences of COVID-19 follow:

Managing the Second Wave: a panel discussion presented by LawPRO, the insurance program for Ontario lawyers

Program description

This presentation focuses on the particular stressors faced by lawyers, generally in our chosen profession, but especially now with the pandemic entering its second year. We have all adapted, but none of us expected the lockdown to continue into another year.  And while the end may be in sight, it is far from near.  We are experiencing anxieties and problems that we may not even be aware of, but we are not alone. Many of our colleagues are ready to support others who are struggling, and there are excellent resources for BC lawyers if we just reach out for help. Help yourself and others by watching this insightful, practical and compelling presentation. You may find yourself nodding throughout.

This video has been approved by the Law Society of BC for 1.5 hours of CPD.


Orlando Da Silva, CEO, Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada
Teresa Donnelly, Treasurer, Law Society of Ontario
Doron Gold, Staff Clinician and Presenter, Homewood Health
Mahwash Khan, Chair, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, LawPRO
Juda Strawczynski, Director, practicePRO, LawPRO

Other Assistance

Lawyers can access LifeWorks, a program funded by the Law Society that offers free, confidential, 24/7 support for articled students, lawyers and their immediate families. LifeWorks has added a COVID-19 Support Toolkit, which is continuously updated. Information on how to access LifeWorks is below.

The Lawyers Assistance Program remains open and available to offer peer support and referral services for issues including alcohol and drug dependence, stress, anxiety and depression. Consultations are available over the phone or through other means. Learn more on their website.

The Canadian Mental Health Association also has resources on managing feelings of anxiety in reaction to COVID-19, available here.

The BC Psychological Association is offering the COVID-19 Psychological Support Service to help any BC resident who is experiencing stress, anxiety, or uncertainty due to the evolving pandemic. For more information, visit their website.

LifeWorks Canada

The Law Society funds personal counselling and referral services through LifeWorks Canada Ltd. Services are confidential and available at no cost to individual BC lawyers and articled students and their immediate families.

Find out answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Lifeworks' services.

There are three ways to contact LifeWorks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

  1. Call the toll-free number: 1.888.307.0590 for a confidential in-person call
  2. Log in to login.lifeworks.com to learn more about the services Lifeworks provides, including website materials and access to a confidential online chat or in-person call:
    Username: lawsocietybc
    Password: healthy
  3. Download the free app on Android or IOS – simply search for “Lifeworks”. Once downloaded, open the app, click on “log in” and enter your Username and Password: lawsocietybc/healthy

Lawyers Assistance Program

The Lawyers Assistance Program provides confidential support, counselling, referrals and peer interventions for lawyers, their families, support staff and articled students who need help to deal with alcohol or chemical dependencies, stress, depression or other personal problems. In addition, they offer a number of workshops, seminars and events such as weekly well-being support groups, anger management workshops and boundaries for lawyers workshops. For more information, visit the Lawyers Assistance Program’s website or contact them at 604.685.2171 or info@lapbc.com.

Equity Ombudsperson

The Law Society provides the profession with the services of an Equity Ombudsperson, who can assist with resolving concerns about discrimination and discriminatory harassment. Services are confidential and available at no cost to BC lawyers, articled students, law students and support staff of legal employers.

You can reach Equity Ombudsperson Claire Marchant at equity@lsbc.org, 604.605.5303.

Other programs and resources

BC Centre on Substance Use has a mandate to develop, help implement, and evaluate evidence-based approaches to substance use and addiction. Its core functions include research and evaluation, education and training and clinical care guidance.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (BC division) facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness.

Crisis Line Association of BC offers a call-in service for those in crisis:

  • 1-800-SUICIDE: Call 1-800-784-2433 if you are having a crisis or are concerned about someone who may be. Available 24 hours a day.
  • Call 310-6789 (no area code needed) toll-free anywhere in B.C. to access emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health and substance use issues. Available 24 hours a day.

The Government of BC offers a range of resources on its Mental Health and Substance Use resource page.

The list of resources above is not intended to be an endorsement of the organizations and is not meant to be exhaustive.