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HEALTH AND WELLBEING Mental Health Week falls between 8 and 15 October, with 'Act-Belong-Commit' and a focus on suicide prevention as the official theme, so it is appropriate that this issue of Brief focuses on health and wellbeing. Members of the legal profession are more likely than many other professional groups to be affected by the pressures that arise in the workplace or in family life. A significant body of research evidences that legal practitioners and law students are at significant risk of depression, with competitive work cultures and a focus on perfectionism being just some of the contributing factors. Whether our profession attracts people who have a predilection for depression or whether our professional culture is causative is not clear, and I would suggest not important. Either way there are elements of our professional culture that can exacerbate or act as a trigger for depression and our focus needs to be on these concerns.
COUNCIL ELECTIONS Nominations for the Law Society's 2017 Council elections will open on 4 October 2016. The Council elections give members the opportunity to become more deeply involved in the work of the Law Society. The Council sets the strategic direction for the Law Society, ensures good governance and, with the assistance of the Law Society's committees, acts as the voice of the legal profession through submissions and regular dialogue with government and the courts. Nomination forms will be sent electronically with nominations closing on 20 October. I encourage all members to consider nominating for a position on the Council. Further information on the 2017 Council elections will be available in the coming weeks.
NEW CPD PROGRAMME LAUNCHED I am very pleased to advise members that the Law Society recently launched its Continuing Professional Development programme for September-December 2016; you should now have received a physical copy. As Convenor of the Society's Education Committee I can assure members of the profession firsthand that the programme has been designed by practitioners, for practitioners, following extensive consultation. It delivers content that is relevant and responsive to developments in the law and legal practice in Western Australia and the proceeds help support our advocacy and law reform programmes. Please visit lawsocietywa.asn.au to peruse the full range of seminars available.
REVIEW OF LAW SOCIETY'S CONSTITUTION The Society has appointed a Working Group to review its Constitution, having regard to requirements in the Associations Incorporation Act 2015. The Society's Constitution is required to comply with the new Act, which comes into operation on 1 July 2016. There is a three year period from 1 July 2016 for incorporated associations to comply with the new regime. The last detailed review of the Constitution was in 2006.
LEGAL AID MATTERS CAMPAIGN Members will no doubt be aware that the Society has joined together with the Law Council of Australia and the Law Societies and Bar Associations in other States to raise public awareness of the crisis currently facing our legal aid system. Cuts to legal assistance funding by successive governments have caused important services to shut down. Legal Aid, Community Legal Centres, domestic violence service providers and Aboriginal legal services are all under threat. The cuts have placed greater pressure on remaining services.
LAW WEEK 2016 By the time this edition of Brief reaches you, Law Week 2016 will be mere days away. As many of you will no doubt be aware, Law Week is an annual celebration of law and justice in the community. It provides an opportunity to demystify the legal system, to build a shared understanding of the role of law in society and to recognise legal practitioners who consistently contribute to the community through pro bono work.