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Seeing wellbeing as a weakness must change for all our sakes

Date:6 DEC 2021
‘When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows not the flower.’ Alexander Den Heijer


Earlier this year we did a chambers wide audit of mental health and wellbeing and provided a wellbeing workshop for barristers and staff. I have been in practice for nearly thirty years and the mantra ‘work comes first’ dominates my work ethic. I know this has been to my detriment. For example going to court on the morning my father died because I couldn’t let the court down.

Until recently this was a source of professional pride. Now hearing from junior barristers I can see how damaging my example has been. It is ridiculous to pretend that life can carry on as normal in the face of such tragedy. Yet I never spoke of it so those around me probably thought I carried on regardless.

My career began at a time when mobile phones were a rarity papers were hand delivered in pink tape and the fax machine revolutionary. Email did not exist. As such at least you had a modicum of time in...

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