Meritas firms focusing on mental health in the legal industry

Emily Shoemark

30 Jul 2019


  • Meritas

The law is serious business – and so is mental health. That is why we were pleased to be part of a Meritas Australia and New Zealand survey of employees in ours and other small- and medium-sized law firms. In this article Emily Shoemark talks about the survey results and our involvement in the world-wide legal network, Meritas.

What is Meritas?

Meritas is an exclusive global alliance of 183 independent law firms that deliver localised legal services of the highest quality. We are one of only seven Meritas firms in Australia and New Zealand, allowing us to work closely with each other in delivering exceptional legal services.

You can read more about our involvement in Meritas here.

The Wellness Survey

Meritas Australia and New Zealand conducted a survey that involved 200 employees at Meritas member firms, from partners through to non-legal professionals.

Respondents were asked questions about their work life, experiences with depression and anxiety, barriers to help-seeking behaviour, and attitudes towards and experiences with their employer’s mental health assistance program.

Survey results

This landmark survey of wellness revealed that there is a high prevalence of depression and anxiety amongst employees at the surveyed law firms.

However, the majority of employees at these law firms feel that their mental health and wellbeing is important to their firm and that there is an open-door policy that enables them to seek help or someone they could talk to at their workplace about personal and professional issues which affected their performance.

When it comes to work life, most respondents said they found the demands of their work generally manageable. Managing Partner of Swaab and Chair of Meritas Australia and New Zealand Regional Committee, Mary Digiglio, said law firms had done much to build a more resilient workforce in the past 10 years, however there was still a lot more work to be done to boost awareness and overcome barriers to help-seeking behaviour.

You can read the results of the Wellness Survey here.

What is Snedden Hall & Gallop doing to focus on the health of our staff?

Snedden Hall & Gallop is a signatory to Minds Count, an independent, charitable organisation with an objective to decrease work-related psychological ill-health in the legal community and to promote workplace psychological health and safety. As a signatory, we are focused on following a set of best practice guidelines to create a healthy workplace for all our staff.

More information about Minds Count can be found here.