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Opinion: Check your state of mind

Opinion: Check your state of mind

By Melinda Walker

Opinions Wellbeing Workplace 

In a culture of competitiveness, combat and adversity lawyers need to look after themselves and their colleagues. The LIV Criminal Law Section executive recently called a meeting of the profession in response to recent tragedies that have befallen colleagues and friends. The purpose of the meeting was primarily to promote a conversation to identify the critical issues which place pressure on us all with a view to developing strategies to ensure our workplace is safe, positive and supportive. The impact of the loss of our colleagues brings to the forefront the things that are most important to us as a profession and as individuals. As lawyers we are acutely aware that the environment we work in can be stressful and emotions intensified. The stakes are high, clients challenging and the system under immense pressure. We work in an environment of complexity, scrutiny, red tape, multi-faceted inefficiency, limited resourcing, distrust and procedural spider webs. Many of us face a daily conflict of spreading ourselves too thinly while the expectation of going over and above what is possible remains. This, at a time when all the services which are designed to prop up the system are overstretched and under-resourced. Sentencing options are limited and creativity in sentencing submissions is becoming increasingly more difficult and futile. Prisons are overcrowded and amendments to bail laws have been introduced to make release on bail an exception placing further pressure on the institutions, the system and the profession.

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