At Swaab Attorneys, we want to set the benchmark for bringing
good people together. We say it on our website. We want Swaab to be
a workplace they not only enjoy, but which inspires great work and
personal and professional growth.
But, as Managing Partner, I want to do more than talk.
I understand that to keep our talented people happy we will work
hard to ensure they are being challenged but, more importantly,
that they are healthy - physically and mentally. Keeping well means
our talented people can be fit to do more than just interesting
work, they will be energetic and enthusiastic about doing a good
job and achieving great outcomes for clients.
Wellness in the workplace is the key and I am
committed to being a leader in wellness in the law. It is such a
big issue in our profession and one about which not much was said
for a long time.
I think there's been a perception that if you're a
lawyer and you're having some emotional or mental challenges,
it might somehow be reflected in the quality of your work.
Well, we certainly have moved a long way from that attitude, and
the conversation certainly has opened up for everyone to share
their own personal stories. Everyone has an experience to share and
the more we talk about keeping well, the better it will be for us
To that end, I am very proud of my involvement in the Tristan
Jepson Memorial Foundation – formed in honour of Tristan, a
bright and talented young lawyer and comedian who we lost to mental
I consider how lucky I am to have a great support network around
me – from my family through to my colleagues and to networks
beyond. What I want to do is ensure I give strength to others, to
help them build the same support networks, remembering that support
does not always come from above.
My biggest supporters on a day-to-day basis are the people in my
practice group and on the management team, who exercise care,
compassion, respect and integrity every single day.
When we consider bringing new people into the Swaab community,
the first consideration always is the cultural fit. We want to
ensure that our people are the right fit for our professional
This is a firm with 80 people, from partners to support staff,
and I want to ensure they are happy and enjoy coming in to work
every morning. Yes, this is a commercial business and we have to
Healthy people, means a healthy practice. It
gives clients confidence, because if the staff are satisfied, so
Two key initiatives within the firm, are examples of us putting
wellness front and centre:
The Swaab Brand of Service: I introduced this initiative when I
became Managing Partner in 2014, as a framework for behaviour. It
serves as a reminder to all of us about how we interact and respond
to each other both inside and outside the practice. Everyone has
embraced the philosophy and it is certainly setting an even higher
standard of service – we meet our colleague's needs as
well as meeting the needs of our clients.
The Thrive Program: This is a more recent example of the firm
giving staff the opportunity to join a mindfulness program,
specially designed for us at Swaab. It gives us all another way of
considering how we work and live, and gives us tools to deal with
professional and personal challenges. I'm so pleased to see
evidence of the impact it is having among our staff, who discuss
the techniques they have learned to take a break, or clear their
mind, or gain some perspective and to enjoy "quiet time".
The feedback was so awesome we introduced a second program to
involve more staff!
In summary, I am proud of the way we have developed a culture of
wellness within our Swaab community. If we can enable everyone to
be emotionally and mentally in a healthy place, it permeates every
aspect of their lives – client relationships, colleague
relationships, personal relationships. At the end of the day
it's all about people. It sounds so very simple, but often
it's the simple things in life that have the greatest
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