Vibe-check: Self-care strategies for the legal professional

"What Are We Not Talking About?" is a free series of virtual lunchtime chats, hosted by the ACT Law Society’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee, about the elephant in the room — how do we go about achieving an inclusive and diverse legal profession? Every month, a new speaker will introduce a topic and lead a discussion with participants. These informal webchats will also be an opportunity for legal professionals and law students who are interested in inclusion and diversity issues to connect with like-minded peers.

Self-care is the act of doing an actively deliberately for your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Why can it be helpful for lawyers and law students to practice self-care, and what are some self-care strategies that can help during challenging times? What are some of the challenges to practicing self-care, particularly when managing a heavy workload or working with clients who are facing difficult circumstances?

As part of Mental Health Month, join community lawyers Anusha Goonetilleke and Farzana Choudhury for an interactive discussion on self-care. The session will provide a space for taking a break over lunch and exchanging ideas for self-care strategies.

Speakers

Farzana Choudhury is a Senior Solicitor at Canberra Community Law (CCL) and Vice President of the ACT Law Society. Farzana runs CCL’s Disability Discrimination Law service and also works across CCL’s Street Law program, which provides free legal assistance to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Farzana is passionate about access to justice for people experiencing disadvantage, which she has channelled through establishing a legal education and advice clinic for women in prison, delivering community legal education and running outreach legal clinics. Farzana is an active member of the Law Society’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee. Farzana was awarded a 2019 Churchill Fellowship to investigate the application of poverty based discrimination law frameworks overseas. 

Anusha Goonetilleke is Canberra Community Law’s Program Manager and Senior Solicitor (Street Law, Social Security Law and Housing Law). Recently Anusha has moved into the role of Program Manager and Senior Solicitor (Street Law, Social Security Law and Housing Law). For almost five years prior, Anusha was the Supervising Solicitor of Street Law, an outreach legal service of Canberra Community Law which helps people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Anusha started off her legal career working in private practice at Dibbs Barker, Master Builders Australia and MinterEllison predominately in employment law. Anusha then spent two years working at local community legal centres in Vanuatu as part of the Australian Volunteers for International Development program. This is where Anusha developed her love for front-line legal work to help people who otherwise would not be able to access justice. After Vanuatu, Anusha co-ordinated the Regional, Rural and Remote program at LawRight (formerly the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House).

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