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In the legal profession, where stress and high stakes are inherent, nurturing one's professional identity while maintaining workplace congeniality is paramount for sustainable success and wellbeing.

Lawyer wellbeing is a shared responsibility and requires a multifaceted approach that includes workplace culture and practices, work design, and opportunities for enhancing collaboration. By cultivating these attributes and actively engaging in reflective practices, lawyers can navigate professional challenges with resilience and integrity, ultimately fostering a healthier and more sustainable profession.

Self-awareness is an important capacity for lawyers aiming to align their actions with their professional values, such as fostering inclusion and respectful relationships at work, and contributing to a collegial workplace culture.  Regular reflection is advocated as an evidence-based best practice for growing self-awareness and uncovering unconscious biases.  Reflective practices that promote self-care can also be a protective strategy for sustaining wellbeing within complex high-demanding work.

By pausing to review interactions and introspecting about your own emotional responses, one can gain insight into any unconscious biases and positively commit to being more accepting of others who may have different perspectives.  Affective communication skills require some personal reflective practices, where one can notice uncomfortable feelings, and lean into exploring why that might be the case.  You may be able to shift your perspective, uncover you own biases and let them go.  This will aid you to be more authentic in your next encounter and this can reduce incongruence and foster positive relationships, thereby promoting wellbeing.

Embracing vulnerability is another crucial aspect of professional growth. Lawyers are encouraged to confront discomfort and acknowledge moments of vulnerability as opportunities for self-awareness and social skills development.

Workplace culture significantly influences lawyer wellbeing. Collegiality, or the lack thereof, poses a considerable risk that can lead to burnout, empathy fatigue, cynicism, and conflict with colleagues.  Building trusting relationships in the workplace serves as a protective factor, especially when dealing with complex and emotionally demanding legal matters.

A growth mindset, characterised by openness to learning and perseverance, also fosters confidence and resilience in navigating professional challenges.

Emotional regulation plays a pivotal role in managing those uncomfortable feelings that arise. Maintaining a regular practice of self-care and reflective time will assist with maintaining overall wellbeing. Recognising physiological responses to stress and practicing calming techniques, such as deep breathing and positive self-talk, are essential for resilience. Cultivating self-compassion enables lawyers to navigate setbacks with integrity and ethical conduct, fostering a sense of confidence and empathy.

The Law Society of NSW is currently supporting a national survey measuring lawyer wellbeing and workplace culture in Australia. You can read more about the survey here.