Episode 237 – Clarissa Rayward & Jennifer Harris – That’s a Wrap! Wellness in Law: Where Are We Now & Where to Next?
So we made it to then end! In this very last episode of the Happy Lawyer Happy Life podcast I sat down with my now very dear friend Jennifer Harris. Jen and I met thanks to this show and her friendship will forever be one of the greatest things that has come as a result. When I was trying to work out who would be the perfect person to help me wrap this all up I immediately thought of Jen. So here we are! Talking all things happiness in law, what we have both learned over 237 episodes and 6 years of podcasting.
Before publishing this episode today I was listening back to Episode 1 to remind myself of what I set out to explore with this show. Now, 6 years later I can say with confidence that there are so many happy lawyers out there. Sure they all have their ups and downs but each of them has found a way to build a career in this profession that they (mostly) love.
These stories have show us that happiness really is different for all of us. I have had the chance to speak with some extraordinary people in our profession- some are famous, some are hardly known and all are going about their work with meaning, purpose and conviction and doing great things in the world.
We can build careers in law that enable us to pursue a meaningful and happy life- just listen back to my many guests and you will find out how.
That’s a wrap.
It is finally time to say goodbye, and I won’t be seeing you on the airwaves next week. A lot of you are asking ‘what’s next?’ for me, and as much as I’d love to tell you there’s some great plan to do something fascinating, interesting and grand, there actually isn’t. Over the last six years, I have really explored what it takes for me to build a life that has at the heart of it, happiness. My kids are that bit older. My business works well. I know that I need craft, sparkles and colour in my life. And so, I’m actually going to take a bit of a step back from this law land stuff.
These days I spend most of my free time hanging out with my girls, being a dance mum, watching them build lives that have at the heart of them their happiness. For the next few years, that’s all I really want to do. I love law, I love the careers that we all get to build, and I hope I’ve done my little bit to make an impact in the profession that we’re all part of. For now, I just want to go and be Clarissa, that happy lawyer who loves that sparkly stuff and enjoys the people closest to her. Maybe a new project will come along, but I’m pretty content if it doesn’t.
I want to say thank you to a few people that have made this project what it is. Firstly, to Amelia Rees, the silent mind behind each and every one of these episodes. Amelia and I’ve worked together for many years. Some years ago, I ran a cafe and she was the manager of that cafe before she transitioned to a receptionist in my law firm. Thanks to some challenges in her own life, she had to step away from working within my business, but in her time there, she’d built the skills to become a podcast producer. Having navigated some health challenges, she fast set up a business using all of the skills that she and I had learned together. Amelia runs a great little business called ‘Pretty Podcasts’. She’s the back end now of a whole bunch of successful podcasts all around this country.
Amelia, you have been such a wonderful part of my life. You and Marshall have been there since the beginning of my businesses and I’m so grateful that you are still involved today. Thank you for all your work in producing this show and making it the great thing that it has been.
To my other creative sidekick, Sarah Follent, who has also been there with me the whole time through this journey, the brains behind all of the pretty pictures and all of the nice things that come out of my two businesses I say a huge tinsel filled ‘thank you’! Sarah is another deeply talented human being that I’m so very grateful to have in my life. Many of you would’ve connected with Sarah over the years and I’ve come to learn that everyone needs a Sarah in their life, a cheerleader who is kind, determined, and smart.
To another cheerleader in my life, Kiarah Grace Kelly aka Episode 117 I say ‘thank you’! Kiarah is my side kick in business at Brisbane Family Law Centre these days, and is fast becoming a significant leader in our profession. She’s wise beyond her years and keeps me smiling every day. She’s a big part of why I can say to you that I’m stepping back, because with leaders like Kiarah coming through our profession, I have comfort that the future is very, very bright.
I would like to thank Ann Maree David and the team at the College of Law. When this show was just an idea in my head, I turned up on Ann Maree’s doorstep with a very poorly produced PDF, asking her and the College to get behind this idea. Six years later, the College has been there for every single episode supporting me and all of us in this adventure.
I will forever be grateful to Anne Maree and her team at the College for taking a chance on what was then the first podcast in this country for lawyers. I know I say it every week, but I’m going to write it just in case you forget-
“Jump on their website, collaw.edu.au, because the College offers so many wonderful tools and resources for us lawyers, no matter our age or stage in our careers.”
I would also like to thank each and every one of the guests that have taken the time to join my show and share their stories so earnestly. Without them, clearly this would not have been possible.
To my personal cheer squad, Ollie, London, Daisy, thank you. London’s grown up with this show, her voice kicking off the beginning of each episode. She sounds a bit different now. Both my girls think podcasting is just a thing that everyone does, and I look forward to seeing what they each do with the tools that they’ve come to learn, being surrounded by all these great people. My husband, Oliver, is the quiet cheerleader that many of you will have never met and probably don’t hear too much about, but I am forever grateful as he always says, “Sure, whatever, you go for it,” with all of my crazy ideas.
And finally, a big thank you to you, the listener. Every single week, so many of you have tuned in to hear from me and my guests about all these things, happiness in law. The show clearly wouldn’t exist without those of you who have listened, and I hope there’ll still be many more of you who will continue to listen into the future. Whilst the question might be answered in the affirmative, we can of course have lives in the law that enable us to be happy people, this is an ongoing dialogue.
The pandemic has shown us that the strangest things can happen at any time. The work that needs to be done right now in improving our profession for all within it will no doubt be different in 10 years’ time. We should, as custodians of this profession, be forever doing our best to ensure that we create an environment for all of us that enables us to thrive.
A few years ago, I chose to be happy. That sentence sounds so simple, but that action took daily mindful work. It still does, and I encourage you to do the same. Choose happy. It won’t be easy, and some days happiness will feel far from your reality, but by choosing happy, you are making decisions within a mindset of optimism, kindness, connection, community, seeking a more meaningful life. And I’d like to think that ultimately, that will leave the world in a better place.
In this interview, Jen and I also chatted about-
- The widening of community and what Jen has loved about our Happy Lawyer podcast adventure.
- The changes for Jen, both in life and law since we, as the listeners, first met her in Episode 49.
- ‘Shining a light on the human face of those we work with.’
- The impacts the pandemic had on the legal industry and the new-found strength of the next generation.
- Tips for finding balance as we integrate work and life.
- Clarissa shares why she is rounding out the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’.
- Her original goals for the podcast and the changes Clarissa has seen.
- Jen shares her perception of the legal industry as we have been forced to pivot.
- What Clarissa has taken away from the episodes, as the host.
- The shift in the conversation we have seen around mental health and the law.
- Clarissa has been able to successfully advocate for change and says, ‘The chance to sit down and talk to people about their lives has been an honour.’
- The continued work towards connecting not competing.
- The re-occurring themes of the episodes – There is no set pathway into the law, creativity and the law and, just taking the next step forward each day.
- Saying ‘no’ to the things that don’t serve us, gives us the opportunity to say ‘yes’ to the right things.
- We are shining a light on human stories and learning from each other.
- The future of law land.
- For one last time, a Happiness Tip from Clarissa.
Sit back and enjoy this interview with final words from our host, Clarissa Rayward.