The 4 day week | Building a better profession that delivers value

GRIT. What is it? It’s the McAulay Legal mission statement, our way of doing things. Its stands for: GROWTH | RESILIENCE | INTEGRITY | TENACITY

This is not some airy fairy plaque on the wall. Its what we live every day. We believe that to be truly successful, you need to have a clear eye on your values. However, as well as integrity, the I should also refer to innovation – because that’s a large part of our culture. We are a fixed fee billing firm which is largely paperless. We are always looking to innovate and improve.

This brings me to our latest innovation – the 4 day week. A study in 2015 showed that lawyers have the lowest health and well-being of all professionals.[1] Lawyers as a group tend to display higher levels of psychological distress and depression than comparative groups by age and gender.[2] This is the dirty little secret of the legal profession – our winning A type personalities, our workload, hours, hourly billing targets, and need to look for what can go wrong in any transaction or matter, all lend itself to high personal expectations and high levels of stress.[3]

Law is, quite literally, making lawyers sick.

Our jobs are always going to be stressful, it’s the nature of the job we love to do. However, the way our jobs are designed, how our organisations are structured, and the support we receive at work can make a world of difference.[4]

We want to give you, our valued clients, the best of us. We also want to be well, have a chance to grow, build resilience, innovate and be tenacious. So, we are following the lead of Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand and introducing a 4 day week for our firm. The evidence from flexible working arrangements throughout the world shows that productivity increases when an employee is able to work flexibly.[5] Not only are there productivity benefits, the wellbeing, creativity, engagement, leadership, and commitment of staff all improves.[6] Burnout and stress reduces, teams function better, and are more empowered, with a shorter work week.[7]

We realise we are not a large firm (and we don’t want to be). We are a small firm of individuals who are committed to being the best lawyers we can be. Of course, we realise that we will sometimes need to be flexible in order to meet court dates and complete urgent tasks. However, we are committed to ensuring that all of our staff are functioning at their best and are healthy and well.

So, starting Wednesday 15 May 2019, McAulay Legal will be closed on Wednesdays. During this time we intend to:

GROW as people | Build our RESILIENCE | Regain creativity to INNOVATE | Replenish our TENACITY

If this article raises issues for you or someone you know, you’re not alone. Please reach out for help:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Our Principal, Tina McAulay, has also been ASIST accredited for suicide intervention and certified for mental health first aid.

Written by Annabel Hardy.

[1] Study by Dr Rebecca Michalak of Psychsafe, <>

[2] Courting the Blues: Attitudes towards depression in Australian law students and legal practitioners Dr Norm Kelk Dr Georgina Luscombe Dr Sharon Medlow Professor Ian Hickie 2009, <file:///C:/Users/McAulay%20Legal%20PC3/Downloads/Courting-the-Blues.pdf>

[3] Ibid

[4] Resilience@Law Legal Profession Mental Health Toolkit, 2016, Black Dog Institute, <>

[5] Guidelines for an Outcome Based Trial – Raising Productivity and Engagement, White Paper, 2019, <>

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.


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