SCCA gives GCs ideas for legal team’s well-being at Singapore forum

SCCA roundtable forum explored legal team's well-being
From left: Renita Sophia Crasta, David McVeigh, Stanley Park and Geeta Thakerar

More than 50 general counsel explored key trends emerging in the region, and learned how to build and maintain personal resilience at an SCCA roundtable forum lunch at the Raffles Hotel Singapore.

The Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA), in collaboration with an alternative legal services provider Axiom, organised the event held on 30 September titled, “Building a Well and Resilient Legal Team”. Topics included building a strong and resilient legal team to cope with ongoing market challenges and key emerging regional trends.

Senior parliamentary secretary at the Ministry of Health & Ministry of Law of Singapore, Rahayu Mahzam, attended and addressed the audience.

From left: Rahayu Mahzam gives her speech

Forum speakers included SCCA president Renita Sophia Crasta; SCCA director Stanley Park, who is also the managing director and head of legal – Asia Pacific at Scotia Bank in Singapore; Geeta Thakerar, co-convenor of the SCCA’s well-being chapter; and Axiom CEO David McVeigh, who travelled from New York for the event.

“Remaining a truly impartial and effective counsel to company boards and executive management teams is a must,” Thakerar told Asia Business Law Journal.

“It is critical for general counsel to personally be healthy to help support rational decision-making, in a calm manner, particularly with the swirl of fast-moving initiatives, regulatory and legal uncertainties, and navigating the dynamics of a disruptive geopolitical backdrop.”

Thakerar has seen many companies and departments incorporate wellness day, which has now become a trend. Legal teams can gather together to do fun things to positively celebrate wellness. Extended parental or elder care leave is also gathering momentum in many companies.

During the forum, Thakerar advised that self-care is a reality to build and retain resilience. It is an absolute necessity for lawyers and their legal teams, as well as for general counsel, to have a better and deeper understanding of what each team member needs.

“The stress and anxieties of recent events have led many to better understand treating self-care as part of personal improvement,” said Thakerar. “Self-care need not be too time-consuming or costly. It can culminate in doing things for yourself that allow you to be more successful in life.”

Personal commitments might include waking up early, to being grateful for what people have, being more mindful and self-aware and having a better awareness of the surroundings, meditating, introducing a ritual of regular daily exercise or eating and drinking healthily.

“It is important not to make self-care an outside-of-work practice but to incorporate it naturally into daily work and the process of work,” said Thakerar.

General counsel can take time to observe their team members and do more regular check-ins to catch the team’s stress and start encouraging junior members to speak up and incorporate self-care into their day, for instance by always taking a lunch break, short walk, or other breaks.

The panel shared tips on some of the typical top stress factors and various approaches to help manage stress and maintain resilience. The panel also looked at operating in non-ideal conditions, including suggestions on steps to be considered.

General counsel at the SCCA event “Building a Well and Resilient Legal Team”