Queensland Law Society

Structured approach to raise legal workplace standards

Date 14 May 2014
Contact Natalie Graeff, Manager Corporate Communication
Phone 07 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society last night launched and became a signatory to national guidelines that aim to improve psychological wellbeing in the legal profession.

President Ian Brown said that rates of depression and mental health issues in the legal profession were alarmingly high.

“The Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation’s Best Practice Guidelines for the Legal Profession provide a guide to help law firms structure and measure the environment in which people work and their approach to mental health support for solicitors,” Mr Brown said.

“It is commonly accepted that many organisations operate in an environment of too much to do in too little time with high performance expectations.

“Add the demanding client-oriented environment in which most solicitors work and it is easy to see how they can buckle under pressure.

“Mental health in the legal community is a serious issue for the future viability of the profession – if it is not addressed we may see accelerated early and mid-career attrition rates and a reduction of our numbers, knowledge and talent.

“Considering the growth of the profession in that younger age bracket – 72% of our members are Generation X or Y – this could have serious ramifications.

“Queensland Law Society is sending a powerful message and showing leadership to the legal profession in committing to the guidelines.

“In doing so, the Society is also actively supporting the very important research and practical work of the TJMF.

“The guidelines enable law firms to assess their workplace practices against 13 psychosocial factors and determine – depending on their resources, workplace size and risk profile – the level they wish to attain, ranging from basic to best practice.

“I am very pleased to say that assessed against these factors, Queensland Law Society’s internal culture, policies and practices are already on the way to best practice.

“I encourage all law-based workplaces – our 1,687 law firms, those with in-house counsel and government departments – to sign on.”