The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Ann Macaulay

Leading the way on mental health

By Ann Macaulay October 27, 2015 27 October 2015

Leading the way on mental health

It’s no secret that lawyers have higher rates of depression than the general population. They suffer at a rate 3.6 times higher than non-lawyers, according to a frequently cited 1990 study. Others are dealing with a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

But the stigma surrounding mental illness leads to many lawyers keeping it a secret. Their fear of being seen as weak and potentially putting their jobs at risk leads them to suffer in silence. “Depression cries out vulnerability and weakness to many people,” says Ontario Bar Association President Orlando Da Silva, who has spoken openly over the past year about his own struggles with depression. “I was worried about permanent damage to my career and an inability to attract clients—especially as a trial lawyer, where you’re supposed to be strong and deal with people’s most difficult problems.”

The costs to the profession of not addressing mental health issues—both personally and financiallyare huge. Most lawyers who suffer from depression function at a very high level, says Da Silva, and work tends to be the last thing affected by it. But he describes his own “presenteeism,” when he’d be working late trying to concentrate on simply writing a letter. He could only think about how miserable he felt. “One of the costs for the firm for that of course is time that gets written off. That’s in addition to others who leave the practice or leave the firm and go into something they think is more manageable given their condition. And that’s a cost.”

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The practice

Lunch with Mahmud Jamal and W. David Rankin

By Ann Macaulay September 14, 2015 14 September 2015

Lunch with Mahmud Jamal and W. David Rankin

THE DINERS

 

The partner: Mahmud Jamal, Litigation Partner, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Toronto

Background: Jamal has argued 32 appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada. He is pro bono counsel for the CBA in the case of AG Canada v. Chambre des notaires du Québec, scheduled to be heard by the top court in November

The associate:  W. David Rankin, Litigation Associate, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Toronto

Background: Rankin joined Osler in 2012 after serving as a law clerk to Mr. Justice Morris J. Fish of the Supreme Court of Canada. He carries on a general commercial litigation practice.

 

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Article

When disaster strikes!

By Ann Macaulay June 21, 2015 21 June 2015

When disaster strikes!

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Article

Building your niche

By Ann Macaulay March 6, 2014 6 March 2014

Building your niche

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Article

A reflex for success

By Ann Macaulay June 10, 2013 10 June 2013

A reflex for success

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