Wellbeing and mental health

The legal profession is overrepresented when it comes to mental illness and in Australia, lawyers are more likely than the general population to experience depression and anxiety. The Brain and Mind Research Institute reported in 2009 that almost a third of solicitors and one in five barristers surveyed suffered from clinical depression during their career.

Law firms and legal industry bodies across Australia are committed to the wellbeing and mental health of all lawyers and there are number of resources to encourage education and awareness of this important issue. Below are just a few.

LIV Member Assistance Program

The Law Institute of Victoria offers members an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide support to practitioners experiencing challenges, concerns or issues affecting them at work or at home.

For more information about this program and LIV’s other wellbeing support services visit their website.


Resilience@law is a collaboration between major firms and The College of Law.  It aims to raise the levels of awareness and understanding of the nature and impact of stress, depression and anxiety across the legal profession. To encourage education and awareness of mental health and awareness in the legal profession generally Resilience@Law together with 10 other firms committed funding to work with Black Dog and artist Matthew Johnstone to create a series of videos for mental health month – Staying Well in the Law. Below are the links to the three separate videos and also a link to the full video.

LSSA’s free online health and wellbeing package – 1 CPD unit

The Law Society of South Australia, with a grant received from the Professional Standards Council of Australia, has developed a free online health and wellbeing package that aims to expand participants’ knowledge of mental health issues, and for participants to then contribute to building a culture of wellness and self-care throughout the legal profession. To access the program, go to the Law Society of South Australia ‘s website. You don’t have to be a LSSA member but you will need to create an account and login. Click on the wellbeing and resilience logo at the bottom of the front page to get to the page with the wellness and resilience online program. It should take between one to one and a half hours, and completing it earns you one CPD unit in the compulsory area of professional development.

Minds Count Foundation

The Minds Count Foundation’s (formerly the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation) objective is to decrease work related psychological ill-health in the legal community and to promote workplace psychological health and safety. Since its beginnings in August 2008, the foundation has been at the forefront of building greater awareness of depression and anxiety across all areas of the legal fraternity. It continues to improve education and build effective models of support which focus on mental health wellbeing within the legal education system and the legal profession.  In particular their free Workplace Wellbeing: Best Practice Guidelines that provide a comprehensive set of resources designed to protect and promote psychological health and safety in the legal workplace.

Other useful links 

If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health concerns please contact the following organisations:

Vic Lawyers Health  T: 1300 664 744www.viclawyershealth.com.au

Lifeline Australia T: 13 11 14www.lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue  T: 1300 22 4636 |  www.beyondblue.org.au

SANE Australia  T: 1800 18 7263www.sane.org

Headspace (for up to 25 years of age) T: 1800 650 890http://www.headspace.org.au/

MensLine Australia T: 1300 789 978 | https://mensline.org.au/

Suicide Call Back Service T: 1300 659 467https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/

QLife on T: 1800 184 527https://qlife.org.au/

10 September 2020

Acting For Private Lenders Can Be High Risk

Short-term, high-risk, urgent private lending is a recipe for disaster and even diligent solicitors can be at risk. The enormous financial pressure many people and businesses are under in this pandemic is likely to lead to increased high-risk lending. Our claims history shows that acting for private lenders in short term, high interest urgent loans […]

24 August 2020

When a beneficiary is bankrupt

Executors may be tested by desperate or bankrupt beneficiaries in this current pandemic environment. The windfall of a bequest from a deceased estate may be more welcome than ever before for some beneficiaries, especially as many people have lost jobs and are in correspondingly difficult financial situations. Practitioners and executors may face more pressure than […]

8 July 2020

Efficient habits cut risk

Doing legal work well requires a good work habit. Last year LPLC ran a campaign on developing the engagement habit to ensure you only took the right client, in the right matter, at the right time. The next step LPLC is focusing on this year is the work habit to ensure you do the work […]

25 June 2020

Step up supervision in times of crisis

Supervision should not be viewed as a burden but a fundamental aspect of legal practice that drives staff and client satisfaction and firm profitability. The supervision of employee solicitors has always been important, and doing it effectively is even more crucial now many practitioners are working remotely. Picture this. You recently completed your first 12 […]

25 May 2020

Personal cost orders against lawyers

What are they and what should I do if an application is made against me for a personal cost order? A court may make a cost order that requires a legal practitioner to personally pay an order for costs, as distinct from an order that requires their client to pay costs. A court’s power to […]

11 June 2020

Video conferencing in the COVID-19 era

This bulletin has been revised subsequent to its first publication on 9 April 2020 to reflect the introduction of the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Electronic Signing and Witnessing) Regulations 2020 (Vic). This bulletin covers: Using video conferencing to take instructions and give advice Using video conferencing to do VOI in property transactions Risk issues with […]

11 June 2020

Witnessing wills by audio visual link under COVID-19 Omnibus

The process required for witnessing execution of a will via audio visual connection under COVID-19 Omnibus requires a considerable degree of organisation and skilful use of technology by both witnesses and testators to get right. Here we explain the key steps and methods to help practitioners navigate the process. Background The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) […]

1 April 2020

Deferral option for LPLC 2020/21 premium renewals

For the upcoming insurance renewal LPLC will offer all law practices (solicitors and barristers) currently insured with LPLC the option to defer payment of their renewal premium to 30 November 2020. This measure is to give law practices financial breathing space and help to protect jobs in the legal community in this next critical period.  […]

23 March 2020

COVID-19 Update from LPLC

Like all law practices, LPLC is responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic with the utmost thought to the health and safety of our staff, insured practitioners and the community at large. LPLC has not had any COVID-19 notifications, but in line with government advice and sound practice, our staff have moved to a mix of […]

27 February 2020

File sharing email scam – multi-factor authentication will help protect you

What is happening There has been a spate of fraudulent document sharing emails circulating within the legal community that look like they are legitimate emails from other law firms. They ask the receiver (you) to access documents by clicking on a link to a document sharing platform such as Skyfish or Dropbox. These emails won’t […]

18 September 2020

Free online learning while working from home

Looking for some free online learning options while working from home? Here’s a couple you might like to consider. Legal research at the Law Library The Law Library of Victoria has two free online courses for Victorian legal practitioners to help brush up on your case law and legislation research skills. You can access the […]

27 August 2020

New VLSB+C eConveyancing guide – 3 things you need to know

Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner recently published a guide: E-Conveyancing: Regulatory Guidelines The guide contains the regulator’s expectations of practitioners conducting electronic conveyancing. Practitioners may need to make changes to their current conveyancing practices in light of the regulator’s expectations. In this article we have highlighted three of important areas covered by the guide […]

5 August 2020

Urgent steps for moving to remote working

Compliance with Stage 4 COVID-19 business restrictions announced by the Victorian Government on 3 August requires law firms in the Melbourne metropolitan area to close their offices from midnight on 5 August 2020 and work from home.  Victorian Government Stage 4 Restrictions – Guide for Business Stage 4 Restrictions – Law institute of Victoria FAQ’s […]

21 July 2020

Could you pick a scam email? -take the quiz

We all know by now that practitioners and firms are targets for email fraud. An increasing flow of cyber claims coming to us though tell us that not everyone is good at picking the difference between a legitimate email and one from a scammer. It gets harder as cyber criminals become more and more sophisticated.  […]

18 June 2020

GST withholding key date looming – what you need to know

Certain contracts entered into before 1 July 2018 that settle after 1 July 2020 will be subject to GST withholding requirements. With this crucial date close by practitioners need to remember to consider GST withholding for these older contracts.   LPLC receives regular enquiries from practitioners about the GST withholding regime, so here are some […]

6 May 2019

Develop the engagement habit

Lawyers can get themselves into hot water when they neglect to go through a thorough client engagement process. Our handy engagement decision tool can help you develop a more manageable approach. Make it routine for every client and every matter.

9 November 2018

Key Risk Checklist: Tax issues

This checklist contains the most common taxes and related charges and is not intended to be exhaustive. Ticking a box indicates who is responsible for considering the selected item. Both practitioner and client may be selected. A column has been included for initial comments. It is recommended that a memorandum be sent to the client […]

23 August 2018

Key Risk Checklist: Cyber Security

It is essential that firms take steps to prevent cyber-crime as practitioners are increasingly at risk of cyber-attacks. This is a list of the things firms need to do to at least lock the door on cyber-crime. Cyber security ☐  Always authenticate email instructions that involve sending money by speaking to the client in person […]

7 May 2018

Key Risk Checklist: Sale of land – questions for the vendor

Sale of land – questions for the vendor   Instructions ☐  Please circle yes or no as applicable. ☐  Please provide the additional information as indicated e.g. a copy of your title(s). ☐  If you do not know the answer or are unable to provide the additional information please insert the words ‘not known’. ☐ […]

24 April 2018

Key Risk Checklist: GST

GST is not simple but there are some easy steps you can take to help protect you and your clients. References to divisions and sections can be found in A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cwlth). GST alert – for contracts entered into from 1 July 2018, purchaser to collect and […]

28 February 2019

Claim free conveyancing

Additional conveyancing download: Default notice Rescission notice Introduction Claim free conveyancing has been produced to help practitioners avoid the most common mistakes which have resulted in a claim in conveyancing transactions. By being aware of how and why mistakes occur, you will be in a better position to protect against claims. Claims against practitioners arising […]

17 September 2018

Small business big risk

Since LPLC published the first edition of Small business – big risk there have been some changes in the legal landscape which are particularly relevant to transactions for the sale of small businesses including the introduction of: the Estate Agents (General, Accounts and Audit) Regulations 2008, which has made substantial changes to both the form and content […]

6 August 2018

Pitfalls in personal injury litigation

Personal injury litigation Clients seek out litigation lawyers only when something has gone wrong. In the personal injury arena, they have the added difficulty of dealing with a physical or mental impairment and its consequences. This means the relationship is going to be challenging from the start. It can be made even more difficult if […]

24 July 2018

Keep managing mortgage risk

Additional mortgage downloads Solicitor’s Certificate – Direct Borrower Solicitor’s Certificate – Third Party, Guarantor etc Translator’s Certificate Client acknowledgement Introduction From 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017 LPLC has received 43 mortgage claims at a total estimated cost of $3M. Smaller law firms continue to be more vulnerable to these types of claims. Of […]

24 April 2018

Avoiding superannuation claims

Introduction Every year LPLC sees claims involving superannuation funds. Claims sometimes arise because the practitioner does not have sufficient knowledge or experience with superannuation matters. Practitioners who regularly act in this area will agree that extensive expertise and understanding is required to properly advise clients and to have the best chance to avoid a claim. […]

7 June 2019

Risk video bite – Adequate security or loans

Presenter: Matthew Rose, LPLC Risk Manager

2 May 2019

Risk video bite – Attention to detail in wills and estates

Presenter: Heather Hibberd, LPLC Chief Risk Manager

5 April 2019

Risk video bite – Systems save claims

Presenter: Stephen Bubb, LPLC Risk Manager

1 March 2019

Risk video bite – Buying or selling a small business

Presenter: Matthew Rose, LPLC Risk Manager

1 February 2019

Risk video bite – Inadequate advice

Presenter: Phil Nolan, LPLC Risk Manager

29 March 2019

Retrospective changes proposed for residential ‘off the plan’ sunset clauses

key risk alerts New bill proposes changes to the operation of sunset clauses in residential off the plan sales contracts. Proposed new requirements will prevent a vendor rescinding ROTP contracts based on a sunset clause without: at least 28 days written notice a purchasers consent The bill provides that the ‘notice’ and ‘consent’ provisions will […]

15 August 2018

Vendor/supplier GST withholding notice

There is no prescribed form for section 14-255 supplier GST withholding notice. Below is a suggested form of notice practitioners are welcome to use or adapt.Page two of the notice contains some notes for its use.   Vendor_supplier GST withholding notice(PDF Version) | Vendor_supplier GST withholding notice(Word Version)    

14 August 2018

Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic)

Key points Appointments of medical treatment decision makers and advanced care directives replace medical powers of attorney and refusal of medical treatment certificates from 12 March 2018. Medical power of attorneys entered into before 12 March 2018 are taken to be appointments of medical decision makers. Any refusal of treatment certificates created before 12 March […]

7 August 2018

Some purchasers required to withhold GST from 1 July 2018

Download PDF Suggested resources: Vendor/supplier GST withholding notice Key points New GST withholding regime applying to some settlements from 1 July 2018. New notification obligations on vendors of new residential or potential residential land. New notification and withholding obligations on purchasers of new residential or potential residential land. Penalties apply for both vendor and purchaser […]

27 June 2018

GST withholding special condition

Download PDF GST withholding 1.1. In this special condition, section references are to Schedule 1 of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cwth) as amended by Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No.1) Act 2018 (Cwth) and asterisked terms have the same meanings as when used in that schedule. 1.2. If section 14-255(1) applies to the supply […]