Supporting a safe and healthy legal workplace

Thomas Gaffney

Senior Associate, Ashurst Australia

Thomas Gaffney is a Senior Associate (and Wellbeing Officer) in Ashurst Australia’s Canberra Disputes team.

Thomas has been a director of the Foundation since April 2010 and its Treasurer since October 2012 . He was a member of the Foundation’s Working Party (now National Committee) from April 2010 to March 2016 and its chair from July 2014 to March 2016.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Thomas was the co-founder and co-ordinator of the Macquarie Law School Peer Assisted Learning Program (LAW PAL), which established a supportive community of practice, including pastoral and educational assistance, to law students

Why committed to TJMF

In January 2009, the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Institute released the ‘Courting the Blues’ report based on a nationwide survey commissioned by TJMF. The report found that the prevalence of mental ill-health in the legal profession was disproportionate to other professions and the population as a whole.

Immediately after the report was released, fellow Macquarie Law School students and I committed ourselves to doing everything we could to ensure that our fellow students and friends would not be added to those statistics. From that commitment, we devised and implemented the LAW PAL program, inclusive mentoring programs, and a student group committed to resilience, diversity and pastoral care.

When I was asked by Marie to join the Foundation’s board, I was honoured and humbled. From that time, I re-committed myself to assisting my colleagues and working with the Foundation to further address the issue that so shocked my fellow students and I in 2009.

It is an honour and a privilege to work with the Foundation in such a worthwhile cause.