Our Director, Fiona Caulley was invited by the Queensland Law Society to speak to her colleagues at the QLS Symposium held at the Brisbane Convention Centre on 18 March 2017.
The conference was attended by 450 lawyers from various areas of practice and was themed “Framing the Future of Law”. Fiona spoke about resilience and mindfulness and how it can benefit lawyers and their clients.
Whilst it is a topic which she is passionate about she did so with some trepidation because generally speaking, lawyers can be a fairly cynical bunch. For most of us encountering very stressful days filled with meetings, deadlines and expectations – the idea of sitting and observing the mind makes little sense. There is just too much to do in too little time.
However, there is overwhelming research about how the impacts of stress are manifesting for some in the legal profession, for law students and most importantly for the people we assist, who are going through one of the most stressful times in their lives, following a relationship breakdown. Given this, there is a need to constantly look at new and innovative ways about how to approach the work we do and how we can best assist our clients.
Fiona provoked thought amongst her colleagues, suggesting that a new generation of lawyers, who will in future be making decisions shaping law practices, ought to reflect on two things: –
- Firstly, the legal profession as a whole, placing greater importance on developing the practical skills to look themselves & better cope with stress; and
- Secondly, developing what are often referred to as the “soft skills” needed to become more effective lawyers, who are better equipped to meet the needs of their clients.
Fiona said: “It is no longer enough to solely focus on possessing the technical legal skills required – these are essential but must also be accompanied by other skills. As family lawyers, clients are looking to us at one of the most difficult times of their lives. Having the ability to advise, guide and educate our clients and find solutions to their problems with empathy – considering their individual needs, is key. To be better equipped to do this, we need to be conscious, mindful & learn the skills required to “respond” rather than “react”.
At Phillips Family Law, we are continually exploring initiatives not only to improve the health and wellness of our staff and striving to assist each of our clients to establish a “circle of care” by providing referrals to other professionals such as counsellors, psychologists and financial planners, to ensure our clients are able to be supported as we assist them to navigate the path to resolutions following a relationship breakdown.