A landmark report that sheds light on the nature, prevalence and impact of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment experienced by solicitors and trainee solicitors has just been published. The report can be downloaded from Law Society of Ireland’s website.
The Dignity Matters Survey report follows an extensive survey of the profession that 1,565 solicitors and trainee solicitors participated in. The survey was commissioned by the Law Society and conducted by independent consultants Crowe. The report contains information that readers may find distressing. If this is the case, please see ‘supports’ information below which signposts important services and information.
Summarised, here are some of the key findings from the Dignity Matters report:
- One in three women (2.9) and one in two men (2.3) experienced bullying.
- One in two women (2.3) and one in nine men (8.6) experienced harassment.
- One in two women and one in eight men (8.3) experienced sexual harassment.
- The workplace is the most common location where these negative behaviours are experienced.
- A consistent majority did not report their experience of bullying (73%) or harassment (71%), with this figure rising to 91% for experiences of sexual harassment.
- In so far as respondents were aware, reporting resulted in no sanctions for the reported party in 88% of bullying incidences, 89% of harassment and 78% sexual harassment.
- The profile/status of the reported party was the most prominent reason provided by respondents for not reporting bullying (70%), harassment (76%) and sexual harassment (49%).
- Experience of bullying (46%), harassment (50%) or sexual harassment (21%) has contributed to a respondent leaving their workplace.
- Almost three quarters (73%) of respondents to the survey indicated that their workplace did not conduct training relating to bullying/harassment or sexual harassment.
Need for Change
The solicitors’ profession is predicated on the highest ethical standards and we know that the majority of solicitors uphold these standards in the course of their work. However, we now have the evidence that worrying levels of harmful behaviours are also present in the profession and that we need to address this issue collectively.
The Law Society will work with members, and firms, to eliminate unacceptable behaviour that does not align with the values of integrity, trust and respect that are the foundation of our profession. We must all work for positive change. We must all prioritise this.
If you have found reading the report or any of the above information distressing, you can call LegalMind at any time on freephone number 1800 81 41 77 to speak to a psychotherapist or counsellor. You can also send an SMS/WhatsApp to LegalMind and a case manager will text you back, as soon as possible, that day. Text ‘Hi’ to 035387 369 0010 (standard rates apply).
In addition to the above, solicitors may access further independent resources here or register for the LegalMind portal (information for the portal is available here).
If you would like to find out more about the Dignity Matters Project or any of the wellbeing supports made available to you through the Professional Wellbeing Project, you can contact Julie Breen, Professional Wellbeing Executive.