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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.


Resilience@law

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.


Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation

The Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation’s 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 664 744 | www.viclawyershealth.com.au

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


30 October 2019

Take steps to avoid GST claims

GST is not simple but there are some easy steps you can take to help protect you and your clients. Section 9 of A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth) (GST Act) sets out the four legs of a “taxable supply”. The fourth, s9(d) is that the supplier is “registered or […]

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17 October 2019

Bringing your A game

Working on practice management basics gives you a solid platform to provide legal services. Knowledge of the law is fundamental, but not the only ingredient when providing high quality legal services to your clients. LPLC sees claims against practitioners who know the law, but for a variety of reasons fail to discharge their duty of […]

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4 September 2019

Develop the engagement habit

Think through the engagement decision process for every client and matter to help avoid claims. Lawyers can get themselves into hot water when they neglect to go through a thorough engagement decision process. Before agreeing to act in any new matter consider whether it is the: right client in the right matter at the right […]

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4 September 2019

Write tech, wrong text

Practitioners must understand censorship methods in word processing to protect sensitive information. Redaction and track changes are commonly used in the legal profession to obscure or edit information in documents. Recent events tell us that practitioners should not make any assumptions about their own or other people’s level of competence in effectively using these methods. […]

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11 July 2019

Do they have the authority?

Verifying authority is an essential part of risk management. Snapshot Always verify the authority of the client. Be aware of high risk situations including acting for a company, multiple clients or for an attorney. Use a checklist to verify authority. It should go without saying that you should not act on a client’s instructions if […]

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5 September 2019

Cyber claim dramatic increase – everyone is at risk

Cyber security is an increasingly significant issue for law firms of all sizes and practice areas, it is not just conveyancing practices at risk, every practice area when they handle money is a potential target. In the 2018-19 year we have seen more than double the number of cyber claims and notifications than the previous […]

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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 […]

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25 September 2018

PEXA, email, electronic funds transfers and cyber-crime

PEXA, email, electronic funds transfers and cyber-crime On 25 June 2018 LPLC published a security warning for PEXA users arising from some recent instances of fraudulent activity impacting PEXA transactions. One of these (‘the MasterChef case’) involved a fraudster entering the PEXA workspace and changing payment account details to divert $250,000 of the proceeds of […]

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25 September 2018

GST withholding practical examples

Download PDF GST withholding practical examples This bulletin contains practical examples in question and answer format of how the purchaser GST withholding provisions work. For general information about the withholding requirements see the bulletin Some purchasers required to withhold GST from 1 July 2018. Contracts signed before 1 July 2018 Question 1 Our clients purchased […]

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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 […]

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15 November 2019

Determining the right diagram location document

What constitutes a diagram location for the purposes of section 32I of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic)? The section relevantly provides that a vendor must attach to the section 32 statement: ‘… the document, or part of the document, referred to as the diagram location in the Register Search Statement that identifies the […]

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6 November 2019

System lock out – another firm falls victim

What’s your plan if you suddenly find you can’t access your information on your computer? Following on from our last blog about a recent law firm cyber-attack, we bring you a different story this week. On a recent Monday afternoon, a small firm suffered an attack on their local server which hosted their practice management […]

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25 October 2019

Cyber strikes again – how one small firm got hit

What’s your plan for when, not if, a cyber incident occurs in your firm? There is a new phishing email scam widespread in the legal sector right now. Here’s what happened to a small Victorian firm in the last few weeks and how they handled it.    A partner in the firm received an unusual […]

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10 October 2019

Litigate well – prepare early

Effective litigation practitioners prepare well and prepare early. A recent judgement in the Supreme Court of Victoria reinforced this message when an application for adjournment of a trial date was met with an indemnity cost order against the solicitors seeking the adjournment. In Kinghorn v City of Kingston [2019] VSC 240 the plaintiff, through her […]

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3 October 2019

Free Resources for legal research

Lawyers are obliged to know the law and keep themselves informed about the constantly changing and evolving areas in which they practice. Austlii and the Law Library of Victoria provide free online resources to assist with legal research and keeping abreast of changes to law. The Austlii website contains a vast amount of information including […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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’. ☐ […]

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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 […]

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28 February 2019

Claim free conveyancing

Additional conveyancing download: Default 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 from conveyancing […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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7 June 2019

Risk video bite – Adequate security or loans

Presenter: Matthew Rose, LPLC Risk Manager

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2 May 2019

Risk video bite – Attention to detail in wills and estates

Presenter: Heather Hibberd, LPLC Chief Risk Manager

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5 April 2019

Risk video bite – Systems save claims

Presenter: Stephen Bubb, LPLC Risk Manager

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1 March 2019

Risk video bite – Buying or selling a small business

Presenter: Matthew Rose, LPLC Risk Manager

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1 February 2019

Risk video bite – Inadequate advice

Presenter: Phil Nolan, LPLC Risk Manager

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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 […]

More
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)    

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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 […]

More
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 […]

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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 […]

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