In 2019 the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner interviewed people working across all parts of the legal profession to gain a deeper understanding of lawyers’ experiences of mental health and wellbeing over their careers. These interviews were analysed and the resulting report ‘VLSB+C report on legal professionals’ reflections on wellbeing and suggestions for future reform’ is now available.
The report found that interview participants:
- described being acculturated early in their career into a professional culture that frequently made it very difficult for the average individual to achieve wellbeing
- identified a range of cultural and institutional factors that made it hard to improve the wellbeing of legal professionals
- were positive about the direction of change in recent years and most, though not all, respondents conveyed optimism about a changing conversation regarding the wellbeing of legal professionals
- had many ideas and suggestions for changes that could improve wellbeing within the profession
Some of the suggestions for improving wellbeing included embracing more comprehensive assistance programs like those in place overseas, increased collaboration with researchers, the increased promotion of counselling and debriefing programs, reforms to court practices, improved management training and the incorporation of a focus on wellbeing into CPD requirements.