Welcome to the Wellness Network for Law. We are a community of Australian legal academics, practitioners and students who are committed to: first, addressing the high levels of psychological distress experienced in law; and second, promoting wellness at law school, in the legal academy, and in the profession. You can read more about the network above at ‘About us‘, find resources for students, practitioners and academics in the ‘Library‘ and find details from our recent conference at the ‘Forum‘.
‘If we … lead a good life,’ law professor Ronald Dworkin wrote, ‘we make our lives tiny diamonds in the cosmic sands’
Save the Date
The 2016 Forum will be held in Sydney at the College of Law (St Leonard’s Campus) on 4 and 5 February 2016.
Call for Submissions
The call for submissions for the 2016 Wellness for Law Forum is now available here http://www.collaw.edu.au/2016-
As has been the case with all previous Forums, we anticipate receiving a wide range of proposals in various forms – including academic papers, research papers, panels, workshops and posters.
Deadline for Submissions
The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2015. This date has been chosen to facilitate the process of planning and scheduling of Forum sessions.
Visual Arts Exhibition
We are planning an exhibition of visual art works by participants (during the Forum). A few likely attendees have already expressed interest! More detail of this initiative will follow in the next few weeks. We hope that this announcement prompts a flowing of creative juices.
Registration for the Forum will open soon. Please get in touch if you have any questions. Further information is available on the website http://www.collaw.edu.au/
Judy Bourke email@example.com and
Michael Appleby firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of the Forum Committee
A great two days of forum. A terrific group of tweeter-rapporteurs were kept busy following the presentations.
And you can see where some of the tweets came from, in the images below.
Professor Paul Maharg also posted a couple of great reviews of some of the days presentations, you can find his thoughts on Rachel Field’s Keynote here, Justice Shane Marshall’s Keynote here, and his wrap up, here. You will find more of Paul’s posts here.
A write up of the Forum was published here by ANU Media.
More materials and presentations from the 2015 Forum will appear on this page, as they become available.
On a related issue, as mentioned, Kris Greaves pulled all the data from the tweets together, and then explored how legal academics (and others!) might capture and analyse the data from tweets and the blogs; they could be a useful repository of information from a conference such as this one. See his post A little bit meta – meta events, peripheral participation and data.
The Final Program is now available.
The 2014 Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Annual Lecture will be held on 23 October, in Sydney. The Hon. Justice Virginia Bell AC will present the lecture ‘Putting the Guidelines to Work’. Details and tickets here.The lecture will be streamed live to Federal Courts in capital cities across the country.
We are very happy to invite you to the 2015 National Wellness for Law Forum on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th of February 2015, hosted by ANU Legal Workshop in Canberra.
Theme for 2015: Wellness in Legal Education and Practice: Towards Integration and New Connections.
Since the first forum in 2012, the conversation on psychological wellness and distress in the law has advanced substantially.
There are now many voices bringing different experiences and perspectives from across the spectrum of legal education and practice, and crossing into many other disciplines. This concurrent specialisation and diversification is a welcome sign of a maturing community of research and practice.
Yet this should not be at the expense of integration and new connections at a number of levels, including:
- Integrating the work being done with different populations in law (eg law students, lawyers, legal academics and the judiciary)
- Integrating the wellness research and practice in law with that of other disciplines and populations, and understanding the common and distinctive factors relevant to wellness in law
- Integrating different wellness theories and interventions (eg, prevention of distress v promotion of wellbeing) in the law context
- Integrating wellness more deeply into legal education and practice, rather than as a supplement to existing pedagogy and practices
- Integrating the wellness discussion with considerations regarding the commercial realities of the profession (including lawyer retention, performance and sustainability)
- Integrating the wellness research and practice with other social and cultural developments relevant to the role and future of legal education and practice.
The forum will be an opportunity to gather with professionals, academics, regulators and students from a variety of disciplines. It will also be an opportunity to discuss future projects, works in progress and initiatives to promote wellbeing in the profession and at law school
Registration for the conference will be free for all participants, thanks to generous funding and support provided by ANU Legal Workshop.
Most legal workplaces bring with them demands, complexities and variable amounts of psychological stress by virtue of long working hours and the resulting physical stress.
These Best Practice Guidelines were specifically designed to promote psychologically healthy legal workplaces. their aim is to assist legal organisations to create workplaces that fulfil each of the Psychosocial Factors, identified by extensive research as critical to psychological health. Specific guidance for individuals is also provided, to support resilience and self help measures. These reflect the recognition that whilst organisations “have a responsibility to minimise unnecessary stress and create healthy work environments”, individuals also have “a responsibility to themselves to be psychologically fit and resilient.”
Our attitudes, our mindset, how we speak to others and what we tell ourselves, as well as the way we behave towards others and ourselves, have an effect on how we experience our workplace. Below we identify a number of initiatives that individuals can take to increase their resilience and to remain psychologically healthy in the workplace.
Organisations can sign up for free, to collaborate with the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation, focus on improvement in the workplace, and become a leading organisation in the legal profession. Details, and the report, is linked here.
The 2014 Wellness for Law Forum, held at QUT, was a great success. Day one saw presentations focussing on the study of law and law student wellness, and day two focussed on the legal profession.
We have grouped together here some of the powerpoints and posters presented at the forum that give an overview of the ideas and discussions from the two days.
Day One – Law Student Wellness
- Wendy Larcombe ‘Not only law students: high levels of psychological distress in a large university sample’
- Stephen Tang ‘What works? Critically evaluating and applying psychological interventions in the legal education and practice environment’
Tania Leiman ‘Preparing students for what’s ahead: Using Statements of Inherent Requirements as a tool to encourage law students to manage their own wellbeing’
- Toole & Giancaspro ‘Lex Salus – Reconciling Law and Wellbeing’
- Stephen Tang ‘Change, severity and indicators of psychological distress in PLE
students – and some reasons for hope’
Anna Huggins and Alex Steel ‘Class participation in law: Do demographics account for differences in students’ engagement and stress levels?’
Kate Lindsay, Sher Campbell, Teresa Dluzewska and DianneKirby ‘Lessons from the implementation of a wellbeing curriculum in firstyear law: Coals to Newcastle?
Colin James ‘Habits for wellbeing and productivity in law’
Margaret Jolly ‘Understanding the stress response – thinking like a zebra’
Molly Townes O’Brien ‘Legal education as a meaningful struggle’
Day Two – Wellness in the Profession
- Michael McGarvie ‘Confronting regulatory forgiveness – A case study from the Victorian regulator’
Beverley Kirk ‘Perspectives on psychological injuries in the workplace’
Rebecca Michalak, Stephen Hughes, Beverley Kirk, ‘A triad of perspectives on psychological injuries in the workplace’
- Joel Orenstein ‘Law and the path of wisdom – using mindfulness to transform fear, anxiety and worry into clarity and emotional intelligence’
- Kate Galloway and Melissa Castan ‘Sexism in the profession: A barometer of professional ethics?
- Laura Helm ‘Time for change: Designing a legal profession wide health and wellbeing program’
- Maxine Evers, Judy Bourke, Michael Appleby ‘Mental health guidelines for the legal profession: Best practice’
- Marie Jepson ‘Promoting the guidelines: The TJMF priority for 2014’
Tomorrow’s legal world, as predicted and described here, bears little resemblance to that of the past. Legal institutions and lawyers are at a crossroads…and are poised to change more radically over the next two decades than they have over the last two centuries. If you are a young lawyer, this revolution will happen on your watch. [p xiii]
So begins Richard Susskind in his latest thoughts about the future of the legal profession. While aimed at young lawyers and law students, the book is relevant also for legal educators and lawyers themselves as a call to rethink the nature of what we do.
Susskind’s argument, already commenced in his earlier works, including The Future of Law and The End of Lawyers?, is that the profession faces significant disruption that will result in shifts in the nature and mode of legal work. In this book he focuses more specifically on the prospects for young lawyers. Continue reading
A special edition of the QUT Law Review is in production, showcasing the papers from the 2013 Wellness Network for Law Forum. You will find the edition online here when it is released early in 2014.
We are excited to confirm that the Wellness for Law Forum will be held at QUT in Brisbane on 6 and 7 February 2014.
We are grateful to the QUT Faculty of Law for sponsoring the Forum this year so that the registration remains free.
Please register for the Forum here.
The Final Program is now available 2014 Wellness Forum Program Outline 24 Jan 2014
Find materials from the Forum here.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Forum.