05 06 2024Press release

Culture First | Well within the Law

Pilot programme seeks to address mental health and well-being challenges in law firms in Ireland.

Copy of Culture First

It is widely recognised that there are unique stressors and well-being challenges that often come with working in a law firm. Under a new innovative pilot mental health and wellbeing programme, corporate law firm, RDJ in partnership with the Law Society of Ireland and SEVEN, recognised leaders in the field of organisational psychology, is making moves to address the mental wellbeing challenge facing professionals in the legal sector.

The pilot programme, titled Culture First | Well within the Law, is aimed at developing a long-term strategy around psychological wellbeing at all levels of law firms and fostering a culture of belonging where everyone is supported to reach their full potential.

Running over five months, the programme will involve a series of open conversations about mental health and wellbeing with employees via one-on-one interviews, focus groups and surveys. Throughout the process the goal is to better understand employee strengths, key issues around mental wellbeing, the role that culture plays in that equation, and from those findings create a meaningful action plan that will enable positive change.

Representatives from the Law Society and SEVEN have been conducting interviews with individual employees, hosting focus groups, and sharing a firm wide survey across RDJ’s offices in Cork, Dublin and Galway. Based on the findings from this review stage, RDJ will then work in partnership with the Law Society and SEVEN to deliver tailored trainings, policy development, educational supports and enhancement of existing support services around mental health and wellbeing.

The Law Society plan to roll the programme out to additional law firms in Ireland later this year.

Culture First | Well within the Law is being led by a steering group at RDJ that includes Jamie Olden, Managing Partner; Fionnuala Power, People and Culture Director; and Partners, Brendan Cunningham, Louise Smith, Louise Boughton and Imelda Tierney.

On the pilot programme, RDJ Managing Partner, Jamie Olden said:

RDJ is delighted to be the first law firm in Ireland to partner with the Law Society on this programme. My core aim is for people to work hard, be rewarded and enjoy work. I don’t believe we will ever get to a stage where, working in a firm like RDJ does not have stressful times. What we need however is to ensure we identify areas where support is needed, that people are not working at a level where burn out takes place and that clients are well served by this firm. This programme will hopefully go some way to supporting us as we continue to seek to improve.

RDJ People and Culture Director, Fionnuala Power added:

One Team’ is a core value at RDJ, where we promise to help and support each other whether the challenge is work related or not. My hope is that the strategy we develop as part of the Culture First programme deepens this value even further.” She continued, “We see first-hand the stress and challenges that come with working in the legal industry. While we can’t make these disappear entirely, we want to ensure a culture of openness around wellbeing and enhance psychological safety across RDJ.”

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