find the latest legal job
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Firms get a health check

Firms get a health check

Firm leaders who value the health of their lawyers as much as they do billable hours will be rewarded with a happier and more productive workforce, a health expert has claimed.

Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Greg Stark (pictured), founder and director of Better Being, said time-based billing has taken the focus away from the productivity of lawyers to the time they spend chained to their desk. This creates a culture that can discourage lawyers from dedicating time to improving their health out of fear they may be seen to be “slacking off”.

“If you leave the office at five to go for a run it might look like you’re not pulling your weight,” he said, following a talk by a Better Being trainer entitled Debunking myths and making healthier choices at Herbert Smith Freehills’ Sydney office on 29 July.

This culture is causing many lawyers to jeopardise their physical and mental health, according to Stark. “Even if [lawyers] have one arm hanging off they will show up to work no matter what ... they’ll pull an all-nighter, have a few hours sleep and turn up and do it all again the next day,” he added.

The only way to tackle this “concerning culture” is for a firm to demonstrate that it values the health of its employees, said Stark, who is in discussions with Ashurst, Henry Davis York and DibbsBarker about developing strategies to improve the health of their workforce. He claimed that firms currently fall into three categories: the converted that invest heavily in health programs; those making small steps to be seen to be doing something, and those that do nothing and blame budgetary constraints.

Stark encouraged firms to put cash on the table and “get the ball rolling for lawyers to invest in their own health and wellbeing”.

Healthy example

HSF banking practice head Erin Wakelin, who organised last month’s Better Being event, agreed that physical health should be encouraged and prioritised by firm leaders. She told Lawyers Weekly that she is practising what she preaches by promoting a health-conscious banking group at HSF.

Wakelin has been the driving force behind a number of initiatives, including group exercise sessions and pregnancy yoga. The firm, more broadly, is also encouraging lawyers to make healthier choices, she said. One example is offering nutritious meals for lawyers.

“It used to be if you stayed late at night you ordered take out, [but] the firm made a conscious effort to have healthy food if people are working late,” she said.

“A firm is the people in it and if you have healthy people you’re more likely to have a healthy culture ...  I don’t mean that in the sense of everyone being health nuts, I mean that in the sense of everyone being happier, vital and energetic.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Firms get a health check
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Crowd
06:05
Anti-radicalisation programs playing ‘second fiddle’ to terrorism laws
Several academics have questioned the balance between Australia’s counterterrorism legislation and...
 William Ah Ket
06:00
‘Bamboo ceiling’ thought piece wins inaugural law prize
A paper that explores the idea of affirmative action to achieve greater diversity among members of A...
Nov 22 2017
Reduced investment protections will make robust commercial arbitration mechanisms all the more critical for investors
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the current trend away from investor protect...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...