1. What is this study about?

The National Well-Being Study aims to understand the determinants of well-being among legal professionals, and to identify specific intervention strategies to support their well-being. It is the first comprehensive study on the well-being of legal professionals in Canada.

There is more information about the well-being initiative here.

2. What is the purpose of the study?

Mental health is a growing concern for the legal profession in Canada. Studies in the United States and elsewhere conclude that lawyers experience mental health and substance use challenges at a higher rate than the overall population and many other professions. A recent Quebec study found that 43% of lawyers in Quebec suffer from psychological distress and 19% are in a state of exhaustion.

With data that is national in scope, we will better understand the issues that affect the mental health and well-being of all legal professionals in Canada, and recommendations to address the issues will be evidence-based.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and well-being will be explored in the questionnaire, although it is not the impetus for the study.

3. Who is leading the study?

The study is a collaborative initiative of all law societies in Canada, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and the Canadian Bar Association. The study is being carried out in partnership with a research team at the Université de Sherbrooke led by Dr. Nathalie Cadieux.

You can also watch a short video about this project from Dr. Cadieux here.

4. How is the study organized?

The study will be carried out in two phases. Phase One involves a national survey on the well-being of legal professionals in Canada – this is the phase you are being invited to participate in now. In Phase Two, the research team will conduct interviews with some legal professionals to explore differences by province and territory.

5. Is participation voluntary?

Yes, your participation in the study is voluntary. Your participation will provide important information about the determinants of well-being, both risk factors and factors that support well-being among legal professionals in Canada. The greater the participation, the greater our ability to identify evidence-based strategies to support the legal profession in the future.

6. Who is eligible to participate?

You are eligible to complete the study if you are an articling student or regulated legal professional in Canada: lawyer, Quebec notary, or Ontario paralegal. The study includes participants from different legal work environments (private practice, public sector, university or college).

Legal professionals who are presently unemployed, on leave, or have retired or left the practice of law in the past year are also eligible to participate.

7. How long does it take to complete the survey?

The questionnaire should take 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

8. Will the Federation or my law society have access to the data?

No, the study is strictly confidential, and all responses are anonymous. The study adheres to rigorous research protocols through the Université de Sherbrooke to ensure that only the research team will have access to the anonymized responses. All data will be presented in aggregate form to ensure that individual respondents will never be identifiable.

9. How are responses saved?

The well-being survey is housed on the Qualtrics platform, which is compatible with all mainstream browsers. When you open the survey link, Qualtrics will place cookies on your browser to keep track of the survey session. This allows you to close the browser and later resume your session where you left off on the same device by simply clicking on the survey link (please note that this will not work if you are in private mode). To ensure this feature is enabled, please do not clear your cookies while you are completing the survey (i.e., in between your visits to the survey platform). There is no save button on the survey and you do not need to save your responses to return to the survey.

10. How are responses submitted?

Once you answer the last question in the survey, your responses will be automatically submitted; you will not see a ‘submit’ button and you will not have a chance to review your answers.

However, at any point before you respond to the last question, you will be able to use the “back” button to return to previous questions and change your answers, if you wish.

11. Who should I contact for further information?

If you have any concerns or questions about using the survey, please contact Dr. Nathalie Cadieux and her research team at the Université de Sherbrooke at 819-821-8000 #62797 or at Wellnessinlaw.eg@usherbrooke.ca.