Your work might be killing you

A study has found that being unable to switch off from work when at home is linked to heart disease. The study's authors pointed to the 'always-on' culture that is commonly found in professional services, and suggested that it was 'pernicious to health and is directly linkable to cardiovascular disease'.

There is some support available for overworked lawyers through companies such as LawCare, which is a charity that promotes and supports good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community by providing a free helpline and factsheets on common issues.

The study is a timely reminder of the importance of work-life balance - and that, as well as companies, employees themselves need to take responsibility for their own downtime needs. The whole workforce, from CEOs to support staff, need to be able to switch off and recharge. 

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Law takes another step into the technological age

In the world that we live in today, technology cannot be avoided. This is a fact. The launch of the Legal Innovation Centre, an academic institution at Ulster University backed by two law firms, will help haul the UK legal industry into the technological age. 

We should be exploring all options to ensure that legal services and education in the UK, and the world, are both time and money efficient. With new ventures like this, it will become the norm for the legal sector to explore and adopt the technological opportunities that are not yet within its grasp. 

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Law is the hardest degree to get a first in

It will be music to most lawyers' ears to hear that law is the hardest degree to get a first in, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. In 2015/16, just under 14% of law students graduated with a first class degree.

In addition, in terms of gender diversity, the research shows that law students are also more likely to be female and more ethnically diverse - 34% of law students are from black or minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, compared to an average of 22% across other disciplines.

We consider these issues in our Opening up or shutting out? report on social mobility in the legal sector. 

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Aviva says 'promote women or else'

The insurer Aviva has threatened to terminate contracts with suppliers who do not promote women to senior roles.

Aviva's HR manager issued the warning to the company's specialist providers who have not signed up to gender equality initiatives. The insurer was the first British company to pledge that women would comprise 30% of its executive committee by 2020. 

This is a bold move from a market leader and invites the question as to whether other companies will follow suit. With gender pay gap reporting coming into force in April, the issue is front of mind for many business leaders and campaigners. We could see more of the 'name and shame' culture to tackle this issue. 

The subject is one we considered in our report Opening up or shutting out?, which surveyed top 50 law firms on their approach to diversity and social mobility. 

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Article 50 Bill makes its way to the House of Lords

The Article 50 Bill will be debated by the House of Lords today. There is a convention that the Lords allow government legislation through the Chamber unopposed at the Second Reading. We will have to wait and see whether this convention will be maintained; already there are 190 peers due to speak on this constitutionally significant Bill. 

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