Wellness Network for Law

FORUM 2022

Hosted by Professor Rachael Field and Professor Nick James
Bond University Faculty of Law

Welcome to the Forum

The Wellness for Law Forum comes to you from the Gold Coast, Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land. The Kombumerri have walked and cared for this land and wildlife for thousands of years, and their descendants maintain spiritual connection and traditions. We thank them for sharing their cultures, spiritualities and ways of living with the land and wildlife in this place we all now call home. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

Australian and American research indicates that for many law students, symptoms of psychological distress begin early in law school and continue throughout their study of law and into their working lives.

The Wellness Network for Law is a community of legal academics, practitioners and students who are committed to: first, addressing the high levels of psychological distress experienced in law; and second, promoting wellness at law school, in the legal academy, and in the profession.

The Network seeks to achieve these aims through supporting a deeper understanding of the onset and causes of psychological distress, as well as through the development of strategies for preventing and ameliorating distress, and for fostering wellbeing, within law schools and the profession. 

Doing Something About It: A New Era Of Mandatory Reporting For Lawyers

Associate Professor Francesca Bartlett is Director of Teaching and Learning and Integrity Officer of the School of Law at The University of Queensland. She is a Fellow of the Centre for Public, Comparative and International Law and researches in the area of lawyers’ ethics and practice, access to justice and women and the law. Today Francesca discusses the recent trend in lawyer regulation in many common law and English-speaking jurisdictions. Is it regulatory overreach? Or is it a more caring perspective, acknowledging that physical and/or mental illness can contribute to mistakes in ethical behaviour?

Small Group Teaching and Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Australian lawyer Dr Bill Swannie is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Law and Justice at Victoria University. He is an established researcher and author in the areas of free speech, human rights law, equal opportunity law, media law and Australia’s Racial Vilification Law. Today he examines how teaching in small groups can promote a sense of belonging and wellbeing amongst law students.

The Connection Between Competence and Wellbeing and Why It Is Important for Efficient and Ethically Driven Law Practices, and Ethical and Efficient Lawyers

Lauren Phelps is the Culture & Wellness Advisor for Lawganised, an adjunct lecturer at the College of Law and a key contributor to the Queensland Law Society’s Equity and Diversity Committee, and Wellbeing Working Group. She holds Specialist Accreditation in Criminal Law and has nearly 15 years of experience in private practice as a criminal defence lawyer.

Peter Apel is the Principal of Apels Solicitors and Notary and a Queensland Law Society Senior Counsellor and Notary Public. His areas of law include commercial, business and property advice, including land dealings, water allocations, licences and rights, commercial leasing, business, hotel and rural property transfers, litigation and general advice. Peter holds practising certificates for all Queensland Courts as well as the Family Court, Federal Court and the High Court of Australia.

In this presentation Lauren Phelps and Peter Apel consider the issues of time management, saying no, difficult clients, navigating the pandemic, perfectionism and resilience.

Resilience and Wellbeing in the Time of COVID

Robyn Bradey is a leading Australian Mental Health Accredited Counsellor who specialises in educating professionals to communicate and effectively deal with situations relating to mental health issues. Today she talks with the Wellness for Law Forum on resilience and wellbeing during the pandemic. Robyn’s short paper, The Resilient Lawyer, is available as a free download from the Lawcover website.

From Stressful to Mindful to Joyful: Six Critical Steps

Internationally recognised for his research on lawyer well-being, Professor Larry Krieger shares six critical steps to success and happiness in law. Professor Krieger co-directs the Externship Program at Florida State University’s College of Law.

An Empirical Study of Well-Being of Hong Kong Law Students: Challenges and Responses

Dr Richard Wu is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong. Today he presents his own empirical work on the well-being of Hong Kong law students and responses of the University to the issue, particularly within the context of COVID-19. 

Well-being, Moral Injury and Spirituality

Actor and artist Dr Mark Seton opens the Wellness for Law Forum with his ideas about well-being, moral injury and spirituality. Dr Seton is an educator, coach and consultant for Sense Connexion. You can access the PowerPoint here: Dr Mark Seton: Wellbeing, Moral Injury and Spirituality.

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