The IBA’s response to the war in Ukraine
IBA Professional Wellbeing Commission
The International Bar Association (IBA) has embarked on a global campaign aimed at addressing the mental wellbeing of legal professionals around the world.
To lead this work, in 2019 former IBA President Horacio Bernardes Neto convened a Wellbeing Taskforce, led by IBA Bar Issues Commission Officers, with assistance from the IBA Legal Policy & Research Unit. The initial work of the Taskforce consisted of two global surveys: one for individual lawyers, the other for law firms and other legal institutions, including bar associations, law societies and in-house legal departments. The main findings of those surveys can be found below.
The Taskforce subsequently published a major report based on the findings of those surveys, the first of its kind to analyse wellbeing issues at a global level. It contains 10 key principles for dealing with the issues identified by the surveys, as well as the recommendation to create a permanent entity dedicated to continuing the work of the Wellbeing Taskforce within the IBA. This was achieved at the end of 2022, when the IBA Professional Wellbeing Commission was established.
The Commissions objectives are:
- to promote the importance of wellbeing as a core issue and priority for the global legal community;
- to identify, coordinate and organise the various global stakeholders in changing or modifying the culture and mindset of the legal profession;
- to raise awareness of the challenges and stigma surrounding discussions of wellbeing, while bearing in mind the cultural differences needed when engaging with this issue at an international and a local level;
- to highlight the ways in which wellbeing issues, needs, and responses vary between different demographic groups; and
- to promote and share policies and working practices that help to promote positive and sustainable wellbeing within the legal profession, and where possible, make recommendations to change or modify the practical and regulatory environment of the legal profession at all levels.
The names and contact details of the Commissioner's can be found below.
When I became president of the IBA in 2019, I made addressing mental wellbeing within the legal profession one of my main priorities. I had become increasingly concerned with all too frequent reports of substance abuse, severe depression, and suicide within the profession. Little did I or any of us know of the events that were to come. The devastating effects of depression, stress, addiction, and other such attacks on our wellbeing may have preceded the Coronavirus pandemic, but there is no question that it has exacerbated their impact. Read more
Horacio Bernardes Neto
President, International Bar Association (2019-2020)
The IBA has announced the creation of the Professional Wellbeing Commission – a new, permanent body within the IBA dedicated to improving the wellbeing of lawyers and legal professionals around the world.
LawCare and the Law Society of England and Wales have today joined forces to call for a change of culture in the profession, as they mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is offering attorneys and staff an annual stipend of $500 to spend on wellness resources like gym equipment, fitness memberships and meditation apps.
The report, Mental Wellbeing in the Legal Profession: A Global Study, launches Tuesday 26 October 2021 as part of the IBA’s Global Showcase week of virtual sessions.
The surveys, developed in collaboration with consultancy firm Acritas (part of Thomson Reuters), constitute the first stage of the taskforce’s work and were designed to provide a solid platform of international data on which to build effective recommendations for positive change.
The International Bar Association (IBA) has embarked on a global project aimed at addressing the mental wellbeing of legal professionals as Covid-19 exacerbates tensions in professional and personal lives.