13 May 2019

Mindful lawyers sign up

Mental Health Awareness Week inspires nine law firms to sign up to the Mindful Business Charter committing to better working practices for mental health and wellbeing.

By Dr David Cowan


Six months after the launch of the Mindful Business Charter (MBC), nine more law firms are adopting the Charter's pledge to change avoidable working practices that can affect mental health and wellbeing. This week the Mental Health Foundation is hosting Mental Health Awareness Week, taking place from 13-19 May 2019. The theme this year is Body Image -how we think and feel about our bodies.

Embedding principles

The ground-breaking initiative, originally developed by Barclays and law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, sees financial services businesses and law firms collaborate to follow a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods and considerate delegation of tasks. At a signing event at Eversheds,  the firm joined the latest batch signing up to the charter: Capsticks, CMS, DWF, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Michelmores, Osborne Clarke, Stone King, and Weightmans. The new firms will join the three banks and nine law firms that signed the Charter upon launch, working together to share learnings and embed the Charter's principles. In signing, these organisations pledge to promote a culture of openness about mental wellbeing, ensure responsible business is included as an area of assessment during significant procurement processes and drive forward the actions and necessary change in support of the principles of the Charter. Philip Aiken, managing director at Barclays said “It’s hugely exciting to see the number of law firms signing up to the Mindful Business Charter continue to grow.”

Unnecessary stress

Richard Foley, senior partner of Pinsent Masons, said “Just six months since launch, the Mindful Business Charter has already started to promote a cultural shift in our daily working practices. Small adjustments have the potential to dramatically improve our day-to-day professional life and support mental wellbeing.” Charles Penny, senior partner at Addleshaw Goddard, adds “It is great to see the momentum building behind the Mindful Business Charter. We have always taken the view that we will achieve far more in this space if we work together and it is this collaborative approach that sets the Charter apart.” Keith Froud, managing partner (international) Eversheds Sutherlands, said “By looking at the ways we work with our clients and each other we can remove unnecessary sources of workplace stress. This will help to ensure that the law is, and remains, an attractive and sustainable profession. We are proud to be part of it.” Osborne Clarke’s UK managing partner, Ray Berg commented “Mental health is something that affects us all during our lifetimes either directly or indirectly. So finding ways to support the wellbeing of our people is hugely important to us.” 

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