It was obviously a huge joy and privilege to facilitate last night's event to celebrate the first anniversary of the Mindful Business Charter and to welcome our 17 new signatories. The messages across social media speak to the impact of the evening and the commitment of all those involved to create real change for the benefit of the whole profession.
One very simple message that was on my mind but I managed not to mention is this.
What lawyers do is often (not always I accept) very complex, hard, taxing and at the same time hugely important for clients and for wider society.
We have seen in recent weeks that it is ultimately lawyers who hold our government to account and uphold the rule of law which is the very fabric of our society. Not everyone likes the outcome but lawyers do it diligently and purposefully because they recognise its importance. In different spheres it is lawyers that protect the rights of vulnerable individuals, who hold powerful corporations and individuals to account, who manage hugely complex negotiations and enable commerce to thrive. It is in house lawyers who are the guardians of the ethical, moral and legal integrity of the organisations in which they work.
This work is not easy. When we are stressed, our brains do not work so well. The Charter is about removing the unnecessary stress in our workplaces. This will help with wellbeing and productivity and effective working and the like, but crucially it will enable lawyers to do the vitally important work that is their professional calling, and duty.
Part of what the Charter seeks to do, I think, is to encourage lawyers, together, as a collective profession, to reassert their pride in what they do and to create the environment for them to be able to do so. If you do not feel and assert that pride and professionalism in what you do then no-one else is going to do that for you.
Be brave, and in a world where we can be anything, be thoughtful. That is our role.