Values. The Flip-Side of the Wellbeing Coin

Rachael Field & Caroline Strevens (eds), Educating for Well-Being in Law: Positive Professional Identities and Practice (Routledge, 2019) 27-41

Posted: 1 Nov 2019

Date Written: March 1, 2019

Abstract

Both ancient philosophers and modern psychologists assure us that our happiness and our values are inextricably linked: true happiness and wellbeing come not from the mere pursuit of pleasure, but from living in accordance with values that give us a sense of meaning and connection with others and self. This chapter explores the relationship between happiness (defined as subjective wellbeing) and values, and the implications of this relationship for law students and lawyers, law schools and legal workplaces. Research shows that the more we enact, rather than just subscribe to, certain values, the greater will be our wellbeing. Further, the psychological factors that influence whether lawyers experience wellbeing also influence their ethical decision-making and level of professionalism. We know that law school curricula affect student wellbeing; law schools also play a critical role in supporting (or inhibiting) the development of professional values and in teaching skills to enable students and future lawyers to live out those values. After law school, workplace culture can profoundly influence our wellbeing, while also influencing whether we are able to express/enact our professional values. Evidence suggests that effective regulation can encourage legal practices to improve their ethical cultures, which in turn could improve wellbeing. We need as a profession to attend to this connection between wellbeing and values; to fulfil its role in society, the legal profession needs to be well, which means being deeply connected to values.

Keywords: Legal education, Legal profession, Workplace culture, Wellbeing, Values

Suggested Citation

Holmes, Vivien, Values. The Flip-Side of the Wellbeing Coin (March 1, 2019). Rachael Field & Caroline Strevens (eds), Educating for Well-Being in Law: Positive Professional Identities and Practice (Routledge, 2019) 27-41, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3478869

Vivien Holmes (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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