The New Zealand Law Society (NZLS) has unveiled Practising Well – a new online portal designed to combat stress within the legal profession and help practitioners improve their overall health and wellbeing.
“The Law Society’s Practising Well initiative provides access to support and resources for lawyers in three key areas: healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy practice,” Kathryn Beck, president of the NZLS told NZ Lawyer
“It has been well documented that being a lawyer is a stressful job, it can mean long days that can sometimes draw into the evening for certain legal cases or international clients, and not all lawyers put their health first.”
While lawyers are genuinely passionate people dedicated to their profession, Beck said this need not be detrimental to their health. If it is, they need to take steps towards making lifestyle changes because “burning the candle at both ends just isn’t sustainable,” she added.
Lawyers are also encouraged to help out colleagues if they feel they are struggling.
To get the most out of this new initiative, Beck urged lawyers to explore the tools provided.
“It might be that some lawyers simply need to get a bit more physically fit to combat long days behind a desk and assessments are available,” she said.
“It might be that some lawyers are having personal problems and need to speak to a counsellor, or it could be business issues and in that case mentoring is available.”
She stressed that these online services were not introduced because the legal profession was at a crisis point, however. Rather, it was about lawyers being collegial and taking on a duty of care role in the community.
“Many of our lawyers may not need assistance from the Practising Well resources but we want them all to be aware that tools are available. They also should look out for their colleagues and if someone appears to be quietly struggling, offer help and support – it’s what professionals do.”
Practising Well also encompasses the Law Society’s recent web-based health assessment program, Wellbeing 360, which was announced earlier this month.