DLA Piper Australia co-managing partner Melinda Upton said mental health and wellbeing has been an area of focus in the profession for years and is a “particular passion” of hers as well.
In this vein, the firm thought that “Jessica Rowe’s authentic, courageous and honest approach” would offer a fresh perspective for lawyers and firm clients.
“Her insights and deep personal commitment to mental health advocacy were incredibly valuable, and we are grateful that she could share so much from her personal experience, and her wider views and opinions, with us and our clients,” Ms Upton said.
“A key takeaway [from the dinner] is that we need to continue to be relentless and that a direct approach, with a focus on training, ensures that all our people are well-equipped to respond and support their team members and colleagues experiencing mental illness, and indeed provide self-care strategies to support their own mental wellbeing.”
The firm also thought it important to connect with clients on this issue, by fostering an increasingly open dialogue, “as they too wish to promote long-term, sustainable and mutually beneficial” advisor relationships, she added.
“A number of clients commented that hearing from Jessica was not only valuable and insightful but also empowering, and that’s a great outcome,” she said.
“The answer lies with all of us, each doing our part.”
Moving forward, the legal profession must continue to be bold, Ms Upton said, and also work together to ensure that workplaces are as supportive as possible.
“We have a lot to learn from each other, and that’s a good thing. The pressures on all in the profession highlight the need for continued strong and fearless leadership,” she argued.
“[We must] work hard to reduce and remove stigma around mental health and provide positive role models of leaders and successful leaders in our firms who have managed various mental health challenges along the way.”
Pictured (L-R): DLA Piper International general counsel and Sydney office managing partner Amber Matthews, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Minds Count board member Greg de Moore, Jessica Rowe, DLA Piper global Co-CEO Simon Levine and DLA Piper co-managing partner in Australia Melinda Upton.