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recharge before the next big job commences. A focus on health and well-being and fixed time for reflection is vital to success. “Burnout isn’t just work-related - it affects all areas of your life. If you’re not properly getting the downtime you need, it’s possible things could start feeling unmanageable. When you’ve got space to breathe, capitalise on that because it might not last long.”

Focus on wellbeing Health and wellbeing of Members have always been at the heart of things for MAS (Medical Assurance Society) which has partnered with the New Zealand Bar Association to provide insurance and financial services for NZBA members.

Changing pressures Andrew King sees the pressures many working in the legal profession face every day. In 2011 he founded LegalInnovate, and as part of that has been advising law firms on how best to use modern and innovative technologies.

MAS General Manager of Marketing and Products, Mike Davy, says what sets MAS apart is being a mutual. Being owned by its Members makes it natural to truly prioritise things that benefit the membership - protecting what matters most to them, including the mental and physical health and wellbeing of Members and their families.

King says traditionally the law sector has been slow to change, although this is definitely changing with firms looking at how they can adapt and thrive in this changing market.

In recent years, MAS has also made efforts to consider the wellbeing of the wider society and natural environment, choosing to be a responsible investor that doesn’t invest in companies that make or sell armaments, make or distribute tobacco, and doesn’t invest in companies in the fossil fuel industries.

“It’s a unique situation. In some firms, there are lawyers who will resist tech changes and still endure the pressures of menial or manual work. For me, it’s a matter of educating them on how it will benefit their client, their time, and their bottom line - because often they are just unaware.” Pressure mounts from clients and younger lawyers entering the workforce, who expect a certain level of technology. When this level isn’t met, it can hinder the success of the firm, and drive young employees to more tech-savvy workplaces.

The most recent expression of this mutual culture is a cyber-bullying benefit which allows members to claim up to $5,000 a year to cover the costs of a cyber-bullying event such as counselling, lost salary, relocation or private tutoring. “We’ve got a long history of looking after our members and their families’ wellness and we’re always looking at ways to improve the lives of our Members so they can focus on getting on with life without worry,” Davy says.

This creates unique stress for older lawyers to learn how to implement new technology, both for the sake of in house processes and for the quality of service they can provide for their clients he says.

NZBA members will also be able to access MAS’ health and wellbeing portal, where they can find information, advice and activities on ways to improve their lifestyle.

“It can have a negative effect on culture and productivity if employees feel their time could be used more efficiently. And as for clients, they want specialised law advice, not to be invoiced for administration tasks.” The successful lawyers of tomorrow will be the ones that innovate through leveraging technology, to deliver more efficient legal services. King says those that are open to innovation and embracing technology will be the ones that lead the way. The ones that choose not to, could be left behind by an increasingly competitive market.

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“The profession should continue to ask themselves ‘how can we do this better – to deliver legal services that are more efficient, profitable, whilst providing greater value and outcomes for their clients’,” he says.

*Sophie Speer is the publisher of the MAS quarterly magazine, OnMAS, which goes to all MAS Members. To find out more about MAS please visit www.mas.co.nz or emal peter.lycett@mas.co.nz. Peter will be happy to talk or meet with you. All MAS advisers are salaried so there is no commission or fee for advice and they're always happy to meet at time and location that suits you.

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Profile for New Zealand Bar Association

At the Bar April 2019