Ep 15: Lawyer v Resilience

The law is full of uncertainty and challenges. So how do you cope when things don’t really go to plan?

Resilience is a particularly important, but difficult, skill to cultivate. Nat and Jenn chat about feeling low, how to turn your thoughts around, maintaining perspective and bouncing back. They discuss support networks inside and outside the law, and how maintaining connection with others can help you find light at the end of the tunnel.

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Show notes: Article on coping skills for lawyers

Ep 14: Lawyer v Passion

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Bottled Snail Productions 2015 production of Parade the Musical

Are you passionate about the law? Is it a harmonious or obsessive passion? Are there other passions that might nourish you, and how can you incorporate them into busy life as a lawyer?

Nat and Jenn discuss finding passions outside the law, the relationship between passion and identity and the importance of having multiple interests from a wellbeing perspective. They explore how to make time for side projects based on the ‘nourishing versus depleting’ dichotomy.

Nat chats to Aimee Nguyen and Sam Pearce from Bottled Snail Productions about how lawyers can get in touch with their creative passions, despite our busy schedules.

Subscribe and listen on iTunes or below. For automatic updates follow our Facebook page.

Show notes: Bottled Snail Productions - Into the Woods, LIV Journal article on healthy passion or obsession, LIV Journal article on legal podcasts, Streets of Melbourne instagram, Hugh Crosthwaite composer

Guest biographies: Sam Pearce is Bottled Snail Production's Creative Director and a medical negligence lawyer at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. Aimee Nguyen is the founder and director of the Melbourne Lawyers’ Orchestra and a Senior Associate in Clayton Utz’s mergers and acquisitions team. Sam (Director) and Aimee (Musicial Director - Band) are bringing BSP’s major musical production Into the Woods to the Melbourne stage in February 2018.

Ep 13: Lawyer v Anxiety

Stephanie Lau, The Holiday Psychologist

Stephanie Lau, The Holiday Psychologist

Have you ever felt a sense of dread when a new file hits your desk? When you hear an email ‘ping’? When tallying your billables for the month?

Lawyering can bring many rewarding challenges, but there are risks associated with persistent worry and constantly being on ‘high alert’. Nat and Jenn discuss life as an anxious lawyer, the symptoms of anxiety and strategies for management such ‘sitting with it’, gaining perspective and detachment.

Jenn speaks with Stephanie Lau, the Holiday Psychologist, about the definition of anxiety, how to know if you’re experiencing it and the importance of self-care. They discuss the art of holidaying in a relaxing and restorative way, including letting go of FOMO!

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Show notes: Stephanie Lau Psychologist, The Holiday Psychologist, Jeena Cho article on the anxious lawyer brain

Guest biography: Stephanie Lau is an educational and developmental psychologist working in public and private health. Stephanie has a particular interest in wellbeing and holidays through her project the Holiday Psychologist.

Ep 12: Lawyer v Outlook

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The Honorable Shane Marshall, former Justice of the Federal Court and a founding member of the Wellbeing and the Law Foundation

When it comes to your work and career, are you an optimist or a pessimist? As lawyers are we trained to see risk everywhere, but is this always a healthy mindset? The approach you bring to your work, such as optimism or pessimism, can have concrete impacts including on your wellbeing.

Nat and Jenn discuss tips for identifying your outlook and the benefits of catching and flipping negative thoughts. They explore tools for cultivating a more positive mindset such as reframing your weaknesses as strengths, uploading positivity and finding a ‘third space’.

Nat interviews the Honourable Shane Marshall, former Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, about how ‘seeing yourself through yourself’ can enhance your confidence.

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Show notesWellbeing and the Law Foundationarticle on mindfulness through third spaceLNC resilience training

Guest biography: Justice Shane Marshall is a former Justice of the Federal Court, a founding member of the Wellbeing and the Law Foundation and champion of wellbeing in the profession. He currently works as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, consults for Maddocks and is a member of the Tribunal that regulates grey-hound racing. 

Ep 11: Lawyer v Trauma

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Carly Schrever, lawyer and provisional clinical psychologist and judicial wellbeing advisor at JCV.

While a pretty heavy term, what is vicarious trauma and might you have experienced it in your work as a lawyer?

As lawyers, we can be exposed to disturbing content either through evidence gathering processes, court proceedings or when interacting with clients or witnesses who are experiencing first hand trauma. Nat and Jenn discuss the under recognition of vicarious trauma for lawyers, how it can arise in the work of law and their own experiences in practice.

Jenn chats to lawyer and psychologist Carly Schrever about the symptoms of vicarious trauma, the relationship between trauma and empathy, and strategies for prevention and management including self-care.

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Show notesJudge Hampel lecture on lawyers as humansTristan Jepson Guidelinesarticle on vicarious trauma for lawyers

Guest biography: Carly Schrever is a lawyer, provisional clinical psychologist and the judicial wellbeing advisor at the Judicial College of Victoria. She is also a PhD candidate undertaking an Australia first study into judicial wellbeing.

Subscribe and listen on iTunes or below. For automatic updates follow our Facebook pageCompos Mentis is proudly brought to you by Bottled Snail Productions.

Compos Mentis in the Law Institute of Victoria Journal

Compos Mentis is proud to be featured in the October 2017 edition of the LIV Journal.

Expanding on our discussion of authenticity for lawyers in Episode 9, we write about three steps to help lawyers merge their professional and personal selves.

Check it our 'health and wellbeing' column here!

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Ep 10: Lawyer v Choices

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Sarah Holloway, co-founder of Matcha Maiden

As Sartre once observed, “we are our choices”.  We can face many difficult decisions throughout our career in law, such as whether to enter a new area of practice, undertake further study or change jobs.

Nat and Jenn discuss how to make difficult career decisions including the benefits of values-based decision making, differentiating internal and external motivators and addressing cognitive biases. They explore their very different approaches to decision making – evidence based practice versus gut instinct! 

Jenn chats with Sarah Holloway, former commercial lawyer turned entrepreneur, about the courageous decisions that led her from the law to co-found wellness business Matcha Maiden.

Show notes: What Colour is your Parachute book, Ruth Chang Tedtalk on how to make hard decisions

Guest biography: Sarah Holloway is a lawyer, entrepreneur and co-founder of Matcha Maiden and Matcha Mylkbar, health food businesses specialising in Japanese matcha tea powder. Sarah also speaks at wellness and entrepreneurial events. Sarah formerly worked in mergers and acquisitions at King & Wood Mallesons.

Subscribe and listen on iTunes or below. For automatic updates follow our Facebook pageCompos Mentis is proudly brought to you by Bottled Snail Productions!

Ep 9: Lawyer v Authenticity (Season 2 launch)

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Welcome back to Season 2 of Compos Mentis, proudly brought to you by Bottled Snail Productions!

Nat and Jenn reflect on the podcast so far, and how bold conversations about wellbeing in law have helped them be more authentic in law and life. They consider what it means to me an authentic lawyer and how, and the benefits for your practice, your clients and yourself.

Nat and Jenn discuss themes that will underlie Season 2 – emotionally intelligent lawyering, merging your personal and professional selves, being present and connecting with your values.

They explore how acting in accordance with your values can help prevent unhappiness and enhance the quality and sustainability of life as a lawyer.

Subscribe and listen on iTunes or below. For automatic updates follow our Facebook page.

Show notesBottled Snail ProductionsTristan Jepson Memorial FoundationHugh Crosthwaite composerStreets of Melbourne photographyBrene Brown on vulnerabilityCarla Coulson on sensitivity as strength

Season 2 launches on 29 September!

We're delighted to share that Season 2 of Compos Mentis will launch this Friday 29 September, as part of the Bottled Snail Productions family!

Tune in to hear hosts Nat and Jenn chat about wellbeing as for lawyers and speak with guests including: Sarah Holloway (co-founder of Matcha Matcha), Stephanie Lau (The Holiday Psychologist) and Carly Schrever (judicial wellbeing advisor at Judicial College of Victoria).

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Season 2 of Compos Mentis is on the way!

We're so excited to share that Season 2 of Compos Mentis is about to launch!

Tune in to hear hosts Nat and Jenn discuss how to stay happy and healthy in law, through topics like 'authenticity', 'choices', 'anxiety', 'outlook' and 'success'.

We're delighted to be working with Bottled Snail Productions and guest interviewees to bring you the best season yet!

In the meantime listen to Season 1 through iTunes or our website, and follow us on Facebook for updates.

Photo credit: Streets of Melbourne Official


Ep 8: Lawyer v Change

It's the final episode of Season 1! 

Taking off their lawyer hats, Nat and Jenn chat about life’s changes and how wellbeing tools like mindfulness, acceptance and detachment can help to manage big (starting a family!), medium (new job!) and small (adventure holidays!) challenges in both work and life. 

Jenn discusses the value of personal and professional challenges, and change, for building resilience. Nat explains the benefits of having ‘an internal benevolent dictator’, and the beauty of self-validation!

Heartfelt thanks to our listeners for their support, stay compos mentis and tuned in - Season 2 is in the works.

Subscribe and listen on iTunes or below. For automatic updates follow our Facebook page.

Ep 7: Lawyer v Uncertainty

Uncertainty is a constant of legal practice, for example the impact of legislative reforms on your client or how a judge might rule in your case. Many lawyers might also experience broader uncertainty regarding their practice (do I really love litigation?) or career (is law for me?). 

Nat and Jenn discuss different tools to manage uncertainty including contingency planning, managing expectations, building adaptation skills and keeping perspective. 

They explore the ‘doing versus being’ dichotomy and why it’s important to both put goals in place and work towards them, but enjoy your present work in the moment.

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Show notes: Study on uncertainty and stress

Ep 6: Lawyer v Diversity

Do we all need to be like Harvey Specter – aggressive, unscrupulous and slick –  to be a gun lawyer?

Nat and Jenn explore stereotypes in the law, and explain how challenging archetypes of lawyers through diversity can enhance wellbeing. Diversity can include traditional attributes like gender, disability, race, sexuality and parental status, but also different personality types, leadership styles and problem-solving approaches.

Nat and Jenn discuss  the many benefits of workplace diversity including improved mental health and happiness, representativeness of the law and legal innovation.

They suggest different ways of supporting diversity, most importantly - be yourself!

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Show notes: Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation, Diversity Council of Australia's business case for diversity, DCA research into gender equality and wellbeing

Either you run the day, or the day runs you

Time, that wonderful thing we all don't seem to have enough of!

Tune into Episode 5 this Monday to hear Nat and Jenn discuss billables, estimates, the meaning of 'urgent' and practical tools for improving time management and wellbeing for lawyers.

In the meantime, enjoy that extra magical day of time over this long weekend!

Photo credit: Lucy of Streets of Melbourne

Ep 4: Lawyer v Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a hot topic right now, but is it all that it’s cracked up to be?

Nat and Jenn discuss what mindfulness is, some cool scientific evidence, and how it can benefit your legal practice (improved concentration and memory), your clients (enhanced empathy and emotional intelligence) and yourself (better mental health).

They explore different entry points into mindfulness like meditation and checking-in when doing small daily tasks. Try it for yourself! 

Show notes: Smiling Mind app, Headspace app, Jon Kabat Zinn on what is mindfulnessAndy Puddicombe's Tedtalk on 10 mindful minutes

Ep 3: Lawyer v Stress

For many of us, stress is a constant feature of life in the law. But does it have to be, and can it be managed or used in a positive way? 

Nat and Jenn explore physiological and emotional stress responses, modern triggers and stress management strategies for lawyers including: knowing your triggers, staying in the moment, checking in throughout the day, seeking support, keeping perspective and identifying immediate and long-term stress relief activities. 

Subscribe and listen on iTunes or below. For automatic updates follow our Facebook page.

Show notes: Kelly McGonigal's Tedtalk on how to make stress your friend, American Bar Association article on stress management 

Ep 2: Lawyer v Perfection

As Voltaire once said: ‘perfect is the enemy of good’. But is perfectionism really such a bad thing when legal work requires high standards of accuracy and technical excellence? Yes, when it is linked unhappiness, reduced productivity and a heightened prospect of mental health issues.

Nat and Jenn discuss the detriments of perfectionism to the work of a lawyer, and the surprising upsides of vulnerability. They explore strategies for recovering perfectionists including identifying sources of perfectionism, a growth versus fixed mindset, distinguishing ‘right’ and ‘perfect’ and letting your light shine. 

Subscribe and listen on iTunes or below. For automatic updates follow our Facebook page.

Show notes: Brené Brown on perfectionism, Carol Dweck's Tedtalk on the fixed versus growth mindset