'Lawyers, from trainees to partners, see their peers pulling all-nighters with very few breaks during the day. This fosters an unhealthy culture of working hard without ‘rest and recovery’ buffers'
There is a culture of working long and hard across the board, leading to large numbers of lawyers being pushed to breaking point.
This fosters an unhealthy culture of working hard without ‘reset and recovery’ buffers, and signals that lawyers’ mental and physical health comes second – until something goes wrong. It is telling that most of my clients come to me only after a ‘significant event’, health diagnosis or ‘health scare’, either involving themselves or a close colleague. Only then does it become a catalyst for change – prevention rather than cure should always be the priority.
Other pain points I see among all lawyers include a sedentary lifestyle created by being desk-bound for long hours. Poor posture, migraines, headaches and chronic back and neck/shoulder pain are also common complaints. Firms have a responsibility for their employees’ health. The firm-subsidised gym membership is not enough – a culture of wellness needs to be embedded at the heart of a firm.
– I took things to heart and found it challenging not to be emotionally invested in all my cases.
It simply got to the point where the volume and intensity of work just was not sustainable. However, I see that this trait now serves me well as it has become my secret ingredient when working with clients on looking after their health and wellness.
I loved the bouncing of ideas and working through challenges, and, most of all, the sense of teamwork during all those intense late nights – they really helped me get through those tough times.