find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Integrative law will help solve depression ‘crisis’

Integrative law will help solve depression ‘crisis’

When practising law moves away from being aggressive and competitive, the rate of depression among lawyers will dramatically decline, one legal practice expert has claimed.

Kim Wright (pictured) is head of Cutting Edge Law, which provides information and resources on the integrative law movement. She explained the theory behind integrative law – which promotes collaboration, problem-solving and peacemaking – at a seminar held at the University of NSW on 5 November.

Speaking with Lawyers Weekly after the talk, Wright said that traditional legal practice asks lawyers to leave their humanity at the door, which is a significant contributor to the high rates of depression, addiction and anxiety within the legal profession.

“We learn in law school that emotions are not relevant and are to be repressed,” said Wright.

Integrative law, on the other hand, encourages a human touch. It also prioritises the wellbeing both of lawyers and clients.

“We encourage lawyers to be whole people; that the lawyer’s wellbeing is foundational to good lawyering,” said Wright.

“The skills we learn in taking care of ourselves, addressing our own stress and resolving issues lead to better skills in helping our clients resolve their issues.”

The vanguards

In Wright’s experience, small practices have been the early adopters of integrative law. Generally, these practices have greater freedom and flexibility to make firm-wide changes, she said.

Wright used the metaphor of a jet ski and a cruise ship to illustrate how smaller firms are more nimble.

“The cruise ship has some advantages if you want to take a lot of people somewhere, but it takes a long time to turn around; a jet ski holds only one person and can manoeuvre faster.

“Small practices are like jet skis – they can turn quickly and easily.”

These firms are also more likely to ditch the billable hour, which Wright claimed can stand in opposition to the principles of integrative law.

“Measuring time in six-minute increments is stressful and generally ensures unhealthy competition between colleagues,” she said.

Wright encouraged firms to experiment with other methods of billing. This would demonstrate a firm’s commitment to innovation and workability, both of which are elements of integrative law, she added.

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

Integrative law will help solve depression ‘crisis’
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...