Legal mental health charity LawCare has today launched a new advocacy scheme, LawCare Champions, to mark World Mental Health Day.
It has appointed 14 champions from a wide variety of legal backgrounds – ranging from the senior partner of magic circle firm Linklaters to a local government lawyer on the Wirral – to help “drive positive change in the culture of law”, according to LawCare chief executive Elizabeth Rimmer.
She added: “This is a cross-jurisdiction, cross-profession initiative and our new champions have all been carefully chosen for their commitment, passion and enthusiasm in raising awareness about the importance of good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community.
“The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention, and we must all come together in the legal community to improve dialogue on mental health issues.”
The champions are:
Andrea Brewster OBE, a chartered patent attorney and European patent attorney and a former president of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys. She leads the IP Inclusive initiative, which she established in 2015 to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the IP professions, and promotes mental wellbeing.
Samantha Brown, a partner and head of pensions at City firm Herbert Smith Freehills and co-chair of the firm’s Ability Network. She is also a trustee of the mental health campaigning charity United for Global Mental Health.
Clare Good, a commercial disputes solicitor at Capital Law in Cardiff. After promoting wellbeing as chair of the Cardiff Junior Lawyers Division, she is to take on the role of wellbeing officer with both the division and Cardiff Law Society.
Joanna Fleck, who practiced as a civil liberties and inquests solicitor before leaving the law to teach yoga and meditation. She also works with a mental health charity to deliver specialist support and mental health awareness training. She recently completed a Master’s degree in psychology, researching secondary traumatic stress in the legal profession.
Catherine Hart, a partner and professional support lawyer at Scottish personal injury firm Digby Brown. She is a member of the steering group for Lawscot Wellbeing, a Law Society of Scotland initiative that provides resources promoting positive wellbeing.
Jodie Hill, who trained as a barrister, cross-qualified as a solicitor and is the founder and managing director of Leeds employment firm Thrive Law. She has campaigned to bring mental health to the top of the business agenda and has been awarded a fellowship of the Royal Society for Public Health.
Karen Jackson, a leading expert in disability discrimination law and founder of didlaw with a particular interest in mental health.
Charles Jacobs, senior partner and chairman of Linklaters who has pushed to create a culture that supports good mental health in a demanding environment. Most recently he championed the introduction of an onsite psychologist service in Linklaters London office.
David McCahon, a barrister who leads the global commercial, innovation and technology legal team in Barclays and leads the legal department’s work on wellbeing.
Nick O’Neill, the governance and practice manager for the Wirral Council. He is a LawCare volunteer, mental health first aider and Open University student coach/mentor.
James Pereira QC, a tenant at Francis Taylor Building, practising in planning and environmental law. He is a professional organisational and systemic coach and a licensed NLP Master Practitioner, and has trained in creativity, meditation, hypnosis and non-violent communication.
Lloyd Rees, a knowledge lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He has spoken and written extensively about his own mental health conditions to help raise awareness.
Anna Robinson, who retrained as a psychotherapist (and soon to be clinical supervisor) following a long career as a senior immigration solicitor in the City. She has since practised in both careers, running a private therapy practice and leading wellbeing initiatives at a boutique law firm. She is a mental health first aid instructor.
Joanne Theodolou, general counsel of business insurance provider Simply Business. She sits on the board of trustees of Mind, the mental health charity.