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Amanda Hardy QC on Chancery Bar Association’s year of wellbeing

We have had a busy and productive year promoting members’ wellbeing, which is an increasingly important part of the Association’s work. We continue to work closely with the Bar Council’s excellent Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group.

In addition, we have held regular events, including a recent seminar on 17th October 2018, chaired by Nigel Jones (a former partner at Linklaters) of the City Mental Health Alliance and featuring the brilliant Dr Bill Mitchell (who teaches at Kings College, London on the MSc programme on Mental Health Studies and is a visiting lecturer at the London Business School) who gave practical advice for practice enhancement, covering both strategies for coping with day to day stresses and how to recognise and help colleagues who may be struggling with mental health or overwhelm issues. Bill is a clinical psychologist who works with contemporary cognitively based psychological approaches to treat anxiety states, depression, stress reactions and chronic fatigue states.

Following his attendance at this event, Michael Todd QC, ex Chair of the Chancery Bar Association and ex Chairman of the Bar, wrote to all Chancery Heads of Chambers saying how impressed he was with the event and urging consideration of wellbeing issues more widely. We have had a very encouraging response, having had a high level of engagement from Heads of Chambers, barristers and clerks as a result.

We have also updated our Wellbeing Best Practice Policy in conjunction with the Institute of Barristers Clerks and relaunched it at our October event. We continue to run our popular pilates sessions on Tuesday lunchtime at the Central Health Clinic on Chancery Lane.

We are hoping to have Dr Rangan Chattergee, GP and author of the excellent Four Pillar Plan and Stress Solution books, come to talk at our next Wellbeing event.

Finally, part of our remit this year has been launching our project on the also increasingly important issue of Chambers Social Responsibility, of which wellbeing, of course, forms part. We have collaborated with the Bar Council on their recent help-sheet and organised a workshop at the Bar and Young Bar conference in conjunction with the Heart of the City organisation to highlight these important issues. We are collaborating with a national charity to assist in encouraging social mobility and promoting the Chancery Bar to a wider source of young people from diverse backgrounds and recognise that we must continue to address wellbeing issues both for current members and to enable us to encourage a wider diversity of people to come to the Bar in future.

Amanda Hardy QC is a barrister at 5 Stone Buildings. She is the Vice Chair of the Chancery Bar Association and Chair of the Wellbeing Sub Committee.