The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

The work-life conundrum

August 18 2013 18 August 2013

It’s the problem that never goes away in a high-octane, work-till-you-drop profession: the quest for work-life balance. As work pressures accelerate, law firm culture has been slow to change -- with devastating results for many practitioners. CBA members got a reminder Saturday of the importance of making wellness a priority as Council passed a resolution moved by the Legal Profession Assistance Conference and the CCCA Advocacy Committee that encourages the legal profession to adopt a culture that supports a sensible working environment and promotes good mental health.

As former LPAC chair George Hendy pointed out, the recent LPAC IPSOS Reid survey of lawyers on wellness issues revealed that mental health issues are prevalent in the profession. Nunavut lawyer John Maclean added that the average burnout rate for a lawyer in Canada’s North is two years -- and there are no mental health treatment facilities in Nunavut. Meanwhile, the B.C. branch struck a lawyer wellness task force to raise the visibility of lawyers assistance programs and shift the perceptions of wellness in the profession. A report was delivered this spring and its recommendations will be implemented over the next two years, said B.C. branch vice-president, Dean Crawford.

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