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Wellbeing at the Bar Blog: Amanda Hardy QC

Chancery Bar Association 

From 2015 the Chancery Bar Association (ChBA) has been committed to initiatives to make all its members aware of the fundamental importance of wellbeing at work and, at the same time, provide information to ensure a healthy work/life balance for its members and their staff. The ChBA has over 1,300 members. There is more information about the Association on our website at: http://www.chba.org.uk/about-us.

 

My top three tips to kickstart your Wellbeing Initiative:

  1. Put Wellbeing issues on the “main stage” of any events you hold so that everyone has the opportunity to share and engage.
  2. Involve all levels of seniority (from juniors to silks) and all sectors that support your practice: clerks, practice managers, administrators and other employees.
  3. Develop a Wellbeing policy for chambers to implement and follow up with research as to how it is going.

The ChBA initiatives have been developed against the background of the enormous amount of work done by the Bar Council in relation to Wellbeing at the Bar.  We wished to ensure that our members were fully aware of the importance of this project together with what they could do in terms of their own wellbeing, together with other members of chambers, clerks and all other staff.

The ChBA recent initiatives have included:

  1. The Junior Chancery Bar held an event on 12 November 2015 which set out a range of practical tips for dealing with common wellbeing issues.
  2. We established a wellbeing sub-committee.
  3. We have developed a Wellbeing page on our website: http://www.chba.org.uk/for-members/well-being.
  4. We held a wellbeing seminar in June 2016 entitled “Resilience at the Bar”.
  5. At our Annual Conference in January 2017, we had a “main-stage” session for 1 hour on wellbeing. This session was exceptionally well received and exposed many of our members to the concept of wellbeing for the first time.
  6. At our Annual Conference in January 2018 we had a further superb “main-stage” event with systematic coach Zita Tulyahikayo and barrister and NLP practitioner James Pereira QC, who discussed how to maintain wellbeing, enhance professional performance and productivity and avoid negative stress at the Bar. Sharing stories provided an inspirational backdrop for further discussions about wellbeing.
  7. Together with the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks, we have prepared a “Wellbeing – Best Practice Policy”. This is a collaborative effort, as we were particularly concerned to produce a policy which could be a resource for all members of chambers and which recognises the equal role of barristers and clerks in delivering best practice consistent with the wellbeing objectives. The policy is available on our website at http://www.chba.org.uk/for-members/well-being/best-practice-policy
  8. We launched our Best Practice Policy at a seminar on 4 October 2017 entitled “Manage your working relationship with your clerk” at which we had very informative panel discussion.
  9. We organise weekly Pilates classes which are available to our members at a modest fee.

We are delighted that we now have much more engagement amongst our members about the fundamental importance of wellbeing, and we have produced a policy that chambers can adopt and apply, and we know chambers are doing so. We were delighted to be among the first recipients of the Bar Council Wellbeing Certificate of Recognition.

We look forward to keeping people interested and updated as to why wellbeing is so important and forms the bedrock of our daily lives, and the lives of those we work with in chambers. We are launching a Chancery Bar Association Chambers Social Responsibility initiative this year as part of our Wellbeing Committee commitments. We are continually striving to make wellbeing a normal part of everyday practice at the Chancery Bar.

Amanda Hardy QC, 5 Stone Buildings, is the Honorary Secretary of the Chancery Bar Association. She has a thriving advisory practice in both private client and corporate tax and is a regular and enthusiastic litigator.