The recession is leading to record numbers of lawyers suffering from stress and depression, according to health advice line for the legal profession LawCare.

The charity has opened 274 case files so far this year, up from 249 in the same period last year. This year 71 per cent of cases involved lawyers reporting stress and depression compared with 63 per cent in 2008.

The downturn and redundancy were factors in 23 per cent of all cases, compared with 7 per cent for the first six months of 2008.

“Unfortunately we haven’t got a magic wand and can’t create jobs, but we do put people in touch with practising lawyers and ­professional counsellors,” a spokesperson said.

Seven per cent of all cases involve alcohol and drug problems. But information from other organisations and anecdotal evidence ­suggest the true number affected is much higher, said the spokesperson.