New Zealand Law Society - Lawyers encouraged to slow down and look after themselves, not just their clients

Lawyers encouraged to slow down and look after themselves, not just their clients

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A room full of lawyers who took part in a master class called ‘Life with Law’ were given practical advice on how to better look after their wellbeing.

The event was organised by LOD (Lawyers on Demand) and presented by Sarah Taylor and Stephen Mullins.

A panel at the conference in Wellington included lawyer, Paul Hay, who is the General Manager of Regulatory Affairs at BNZ, Samantha Naidoo, a Contract Lawyer and Business Consultant, former lawyer, now Personal and Leadership Coach, Martin Wilson and facilitator, Lucy Elwood, who is the Head of Legal, Regulatory and Risk at Trade me.

LOD's 'Life with Law' master class

The group discussed with the audience, how they look after theirs and their staff’s wellbeing during a busy corporate working week.

Lucy Elwood opened up the discussion by asking the panel about the strategies and tools they use.

They all had made changes at some point during their careers.

“I stepped out of management roles about two years ago to work in a way that was more fluid and flexible, to gain more balance. I wanted to tailor the type of work I wanted to do and the environments I wanted to be in. It was about taking time out to focus on myself,” says Samantha Naidoo.

“I was an overachieving workaholic but a number of years ago I reached the limits of that. I decided wellbeing was what I wanted to focus on. I stopped practising law and went into coaching. The thing I really love is life and living and feeling alive,” says Martin Wilson.

“I was away from law for about 15 years and then came back to it and love it again. For me, wellbeing is not just being well. It is about enjoying what we do. I’ve seen people close to me go through mental stress. Some of the things I encourage my team to do and do myself is to take time out from the top. Family is number one and work a distant second. A CEO at a bank a number of years ago put a memo out which said this and it has always resonated with me. Making sure the team is not on the clock 24/7 is very important. Sometimes you have to be at work at 9 o’clock at night, but that should only be on occasion. It’s not and should not be normal,” says Paul Hay.

The conference also included various inspirational speakers including, athlete, fundraiser, innovator and speaker, Cam Calkoen, who delivered a powerful message about ‘dreaming big to achieve more’. Cam was born with Cerebal Palsy and his hour long presentation brought both laughter and possibly tears as he told his story about how he overcame challenges with walking and talking to become an athletic gold medallist and an inspirational speaker who has even appeared on a ‘Ted Talk’.