Michael Appleby

Lawyer, legal educator, coach and consultant


Michael has worked as a lawyer since 1981. For most of the last 20 years he has been a legal educator, as a university lecturer (Universities of New South Wales, and Sydney) and in clinical legal practice (in Australia clinical practice is taught in a simulated environment)) as a senior lecturer. The major focus of his work in education has concerned mental health and well-being in the legal profession. He cofounded a mental health and wellbeing workshop for law graduates which has been attended by more than 30,000 students. . He has taught about 100 of these workshops. Michael coaches professionals and consults to organisations developing mental health and well-being plans, particularly those involving the management of psychosocial risks in the professional workplace.

Why I support the Compassion Coalition

Many years ago, when I was a student, I was given compassion training during retreats by the first resident Tibetan Lama in Australia. The succeeding decades saw me working as a lawyer and legal educator. Mostly, this seemed a world away from the compassion training I received. For most of that time, if I considered it at all, I would have thought that kindness and compassion were antithetical to the practice of law. As a result of my focus, during my teaching career, on mental health and well-being in the legal profession, my views have changed. During the last 12 years I led more than 100 short mindfulness breathing exercises with law graduates – and the seemingly divergent domains of law and kindness commenced to merge. Kindness and compassion are now, in my view, central to maintenance of the well-being of professionals and the promotion of cultural change within the law and other professions. The law and legal processes affect us all and the broader question becomes; what is possible if we bring kindness and compassion to all of these domains.

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