Covid-19 puts legal aid lawyers under severe pressure
A survey by the Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group (LAPG) has revealed that 79% of legal aid lawyers have experienced stress as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than half (55%) blamed longer working hours, two thirds said that they struggled to switch off from work and almost 60% had disrupted sleeping patterns or difficulty in sleeping altogether.
Although only 5% of lawyers who responded to the survey said they had suffered no adverse impact, just 10% of legal aid lawyers were furloughed. However, 60% said their working hours or patterns had changed and 30% said they had suffered a reduction in income. The survey also revealed that 41% of respondents had financial concerns and 35% expressed management concerns.
Fears of job or organisational insecurity were raised by 49% of survey respondents and 43% said they had more work to do because there were fewer staff available to do it. The LAPG also warned that the inability of legal firms to recruit and retain staff and falling numbers of legal aid providers are also impacting negatively on the sector and are challenges that are likely to increase and accelerate as a result of Covid-19.
A separate survey carried out by the LAPG revealed that 86% of legal aid lawyers have been incorrectly refused funding. A further 61% said they had been forced to issue a claim or make an application without knowing if legal aid would be granted. The LAPG concluded that the system needs additional investment and current government plans would not solve the problems. Read more about the surveys at: http://bit.ly/3hOgitr