At least one in three lawyers and law students suffers from depression. A litigious culture, extreme hours and relentless pressure; both internal and external, can all take their toll.
Young lawyer and author Jerome Doraisamy learnt the hard way how pushing yourself to the physical and emotional limit can wreak havoc on your mental health and wellbeing. Over an 18-month period starting from late 2011, he suffered from severe clinical depression, at one stage resulting in hospitalisation.
His first book, The Wellness Doctrines, which will be launched by Managing Principal Terry McCabe and Justice Anna Katzmann, Federal Court of Australia at McCabes Lawyers office on Wednesday 30th September 2015, addresses the crisis in the profession head-on. The book offers practical tools and guidance for young legal professionals via insightful case studies from academics, managing partners, senior solicitors, down to graduates and students.
Terry McCabe, advocate of The Wellness Doctrines says the key to long-term success in the law, comes down to creating a work-life balance early in your career and using the tools you have available to you.
“If you are going to give yourself the best opportunity to be the best lawyer you can, from a very early stage get some basic tools of managing your mental health and life balance.” Said McCabe.
“We're not one-dimensional people that simply are built to turn out advice on the Corporations Act and to deal with the takeover code in presentations to clients using whiteboards.
“The work ethic is a very deeply ingrained one in Australian society. But that is only one aspect of our souls. To ignore all of our other needs, such as the need to be physically active and healthy, or the need to be able to get into some other pursuit that really engages you mentally and gives you downtime from the satiric magic of the takeover codes, I think is not just optional, it is essential.”
Showcasing a “by lawyers, for lawyers” approach, The Wellness Doctrines provides the inspiration and resources available to young legal professionals to take charge of his or her health and wellbeing.
"My hope is that this book can be seen by young legal professionals as an invaluable resource to help them proactively manage their health and wellbeing rather than simply reacting to a situation if and when it occurs.” Says Doraisamy.
“Having it on the prescribed reading list in universities, and available for new graduate lawyers in firms and organisations, would be a fantastic way to get law students and young lawyers motivated to take individual responsibility for themselves and those around them, both personally and professionally."
The Wellness Doctrines also has an accompanying website http://www.thewellnessdoctrines.com which provides resources and advice to promote healthy mental well-being for legal professionals, and any other professional whether starting out or established in a career.
The Wellness Doctrines book can be purchased through the website http://www.thewellnessdoctrines.com, the Co-Op bookshop and Dymocks and other selected retailers. 10% of the proceeds from the sales of The Wellness Doctrines will be donated to the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation.
For more information on The Wellness Doctrines, contact Jerome at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you would like more information on Terry McCabe please contact McCabes Lawyers www.mccabes.com.au phone 02 9261 1211.