Queensland Law Society

Message from the President

President's Update

My my, hey hey’
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out, than to fade away
My my, hey hey

—Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Ah the immortal words of the great Neil Young, extolling the virtues of the live fast rock and roll world. Of course, many surviving rockers probably wish they hadn’t taken that message to heart.

As a twenty-something rock star the idea of burning out might seem very appealing, but as the years pass the realisation comes that maybe burnout isn’t such a great thing. Rust, as it were, indeed never sleeps!

Or, as American baseball star Mickey Mantle put it, "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken a lot better care of myself.” Mantle lived a fast hard-drinking life due in part to the fact that all the men in his family had died very young of Hodgkins disease, leading Mantle to think that he would also end that way. He was unaware that in fact that men in his family had inhaled a great deal of lead and zinc working in mines, and that his fate was not a foregone conclusion.

In any event, there can be a bit of Mickey Mantle in the legal profession, in that we can simply accept that burn-out and stress are simply par for the course; that is not, and should not be, the case. The law can be a wonderful career, invigorating, challenging and rewarding, as long as we take the right approach; there is no heroism in wearing burn-out as a badge.

There are things we can do to reduce the risk of burn-out, however, and this month’s edition will deal with some of them. The Society itself is working on a number of projects that will help with these issues. For example, QLS Solicitor Support (aka the Ethics Centre) now has an Organisational Culture and Support Officer, Rebecca Niebler.

Rebecca’s qualifications and background in organisational psychology allow her to provide expert support in the areas of wellbeing, resilience and firm culture. She regularly publishes articles on these topics on our website, and can be contacted directly for consultation in these areas, on ethics@qls.com.au or p. 3842 5843.
Also, the Society now has a Relationship Manager - Future Lawyers, Future Leaders; Sheetal Deo, a fellow ECL and formerly a Legal Professional Development Executive with QLS, has been appointed to the new role.

Sheetal will drive our new QLS Student Membership program, launch key innovation initiatives and oversee structural changes to better engage and elevate you, our early career lawyers. I invite any of you reading this who wish to become more involved with the Society, or who wish to share feedback or ideas, to get in touch with Sheetal at s.deo@qld.com.au or p. 3842 5978.

These initiative are part of the society’s strategy to combat the stress and burn-out all too prevalent in our profession, and I urge everyone to engage with us on these things. Together, we can create a healthy, happen and prosperous profession, and serve the community to the good of all.