Lawyer-founded L&D lounge encourages lawyers to focus on wellbeing

The virtual platform covers topics that “are critical for preventing burnout”

Lawyer-founded L&D lounge encourages lawyers to focus on wellbeing
Rey Saadati and Sarah Wood

A virtual L&D lounge that encourages lawyers to focus on wellbeing has been launched by a pair of lawyers.

On the Run Learning is the brainchild of Rey Saadati and Sarah Wood, who developed the platform in response to the growing need in the legal profession to address mental health and wellbeing issues. The platform’s Life in Law series offers a range of sessions tackling topics that they say “are critical for preventing burnout and maintaining wellbeing long term.”

“Over the years it has become abundantly clear that there is a mental health and wellbeing crisis in the legal profession, but the current offerings are either scattered, impractical or viewed as lip service by most lawyers,” Saadati and Wood told Australasian Lawyer. “There is a focus on ‘fixing’ the symptoms – such as stress, anxiety and depression – as opposed to looking at the big picture.”

This crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to heightened workload, cost-cutting across organisations and an isolated environment as lawyers had to adjust to a remote work setup. Those with families also had to juggle their work with responsibilities at home.

Saadati and Wood pointed out that solutions needed to take into account the underlying issues within the legal industry as well as the specific personal concerns of lawyers.

“In our view, the problem is twofold. Firstly, many workplaces are starting to recognise the mental health and wellbeing crisis in the legal profession but often don’t have the time, resources or motivation to implement strategies and solutions that result in lasting change,” Saadati and Wood said. “Secondly, lawyers are highly sceptical individuals that often question the sincerity of any program that their employers provide in this space because the message is overshadowed by the continued demands placed on them throughout the workday.”

Through On the Run Learning’s Life in Law sessions, lawyers have access to expert advice on topics such as how to manage performance anxiety and unrealistic expectations, handling loss of confidence, understanding chronic stress and the importance of sleep.

“Instead of looking at professional development/personal growth and wellbeing as two different things, we wanted to cover topics that highlight the strong connection between the two to help lawyers achieve better overall wellbeing outcomes,” Saadati and Wood said. “As an example, although deep breathing or taking breaks can help you get through the day, they do not solve the underlying problem. We provide tools and strategies to help lawyers effectively deal with the underlying issues that cause stress, such as learning to delegate effectively to reduce daily workload so you there is more free time to spend with friends and family.”

In addition to providing resources for personal growth and professional development via the Life in Law series, On the Run Learning also offers a legal knowledge stream called Learn in Law, which offers CPD.

“There has never been a time where mental health and wellbeing has had so much need and prevalence. Now more than ever lawyers need on-demand, affordable and practical resources that coach them on prioritising wellbeing,” Saadati and Wood said. “We have developed a platform that inspires us as lawyers and we know that it will do the same for others.”

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