Law Society Gazette: November 2019
Solicitors deal with such an amount of emotional and psychological complexity in their day-to-day work with clients that, without robust internal scaffolding, the personal price can be huge.
Antoinette Moriarity, psycho-therapist and manager of the Law School’s psychological services explains: “A large part of the work of a solicitor is dealing with people in crisis of one form or another. Crucially, solicitors operate without any of the training other front-line professionals, such as social workers or indeed psycho-therapists receive.”
The Law School has introduced a module — called ‘Shrink Me’ — that aims to plug this gap, emphasising psychological well-being, analysing the psychology of a lawyer, and carefully unpacking of the psychology of a law firm.
“The module is, in some ways, like a good therapy session.” observes Moriarty. “It goes under the bonnet of professional life, normalising and brining relief — and humour — to the less spoken-about side effects of being a high-achiever.”
While ’Shrink Me’ tackles some tough topics, there is a conscious emphasis on trainees’ well-being, their leadership potential, and the importance of creating careers that generate success without jeopardising personal happiness.
’Shrink Me’ is an integral part of the Professional Practice course, forming a third pillar of professional education alongside core legal subjects and skills. “This positioning is both deliberate and unique” says Moriarty. “Including psychology on the core legal curriculum has been a game-changer, giving us the edge over other professions that are slow to respond to the changing values, needs and goals of this generation. Integrating psychological development within professional training is an area in which the Law School is now leading internationally.”
This is just one innovative aspect of the Law School’s professional training that is setting it apart from other educational bodies. Perhaps, most importantly, it is creating a sense of belonging among the future of the legal profession.