101 episodes

The rates of depression and unhappiness amongst the legal profession worldwide are far too high. Clarissa Rayward is a divorce lawyer based in Brisbane, Australia and is best known as 'The Happy Family Lawyer'. Clarissa's own challenges with unhappiness during her legal career have inspired her to launch this Podcast which explores how we can all find a positive way of being great lawyers while having a great life. Join Clarissa on the airwaves each week as she interviews many great lawyers worldwide who share their tips on finding happiness in law and life.

The Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast Clarissa J Rayward

    • Business
    • 4.7 • 9 Ratings

The rates of depression and unhappiness amongst the legal profession worldwide are far too high. Clarissa Rayward is a divorce lawyer based in Brisbane, Australia and is best known as 'The Happy Family Lawyer'. Clarissa's own challenges with unhappiness during her legal career have inspired her to launch this Podcast which explores how we can all find a positive way of being great lawyers while having a great life. Join Clarissa on the airwaves each week as she interviews many great lawyers worldwide who share their tips on finding happiness in law and life.

    Episode 229 – Learning to put ‘you’ first – Live your best Law life with Kate Christie

    Episode 229 – Learning to put ‘you’ first – Live your best Law life with Kate Christie

    In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing the wonderful Kate Christie. Kate is a former lawyer now author, ‘life curator’ and business owner. She is a time-saving superstar who helps high-powered, busy people (particularly women) to curate their time and prioritise sustainably to create their best lives both in and out of law.

    Like so many of us, Kate started career in law- climbing corporate ladders and achieving all of the outward signs of a successful legal career.  But add 3 kids, an unrelenting corporate position and Kate found herself burnt out and leaving the career that she had once loved. The irony of course is that by stepping away from life as a lawyer Kate has gone on to build a mini-empire for herself- a successful solo career as a consultant to busy professionals- helping them avoid the traps that she encountered.

    Kate also shared her perceptions of #lawland over the past 20 years, especially on the gendered expectations of parenthood that result in women opting out of their legal careers from feelings of guilt, with the underlying expectation that there needs to be a choice. Kate’s advice? You don’t have to choose! You can curate your life and time around the things that matter to you, which is one of the biggest take-aways here for me! Kate’s advice on value prioritising the ‘big rocks’ of your time is a really important shift. If you’re looking at what you value as a first port of call in shaping your life, you’ll always have the time and space for the things and people you love.

    This really is such a fascinating discussion, and Kate really exemplifies what this Podcast is about – how life can come full-circle, the pivots and changes we face over time, and how you can always find a way to harness your time to live your best life.

    In this interview, Kate and I also chatted about-



    * If Kate was not a lawyer she would be a time management specialist or a professional surfer (I may have taken that surfer comment on a few tangents in this interview!).

    * Designing and living your best life – how you can curate this early on.

    * Putting on your ‘dress of mirrors’ for critics.

    * Learning that being less selfless is not the same as being selfish – it’s okay to put yourself first!

    * Kate still resides close to her family in Melbourne and how valuable this was during the lockdowns.

    * How Kate found her way into law – from journalism to the ‘conveyor belt’ into law.

    * Looking back years later and realising that she ended up somewhere completely different, but pivoted and came full-circle in her love for writing.

    * While being an in-house lawyer, she became a busy mum of three and had 3 babies in 3.5 years.

    * As a new mum, Kate quickly discovered the value of lost time!

    * Kate realised she needed to reframe her perception of time, and made the change she needed to by changing her relationship with time.





    * Gendered expectations, the sense of failure as a woman in law and the changes we need to see for the next generations.

    * Kate is the author of “Me First” and shares the importance of discovering what it is that you most value.

    * To discover what we most value (different from our values) as yourself:



    * If you were very sick, what would you get out of bed for?

    * Think about a person you most respect – if they were to compliment you, what would they say?

    * When you are with your Besties, what do you love talking about?





    * She then advises us to circle all matching answers to the above questions and build your life around these things.

    * Changing our language from ‘failure’ to ‘learning’. It results in growth.

    * Kate’s observations of the legal profession as a whole since leaving 20 years ago.

    • 54 min
    Episode 228 – Loving people, loving law, and a Coral Trout pivot with Joplin Higgins OAM

    Episode 228 – Loving people, loving law, and a Coral Trout pivot with Joplin Higgins OAM

    In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing family lawyer Joplin Higgins OAM.

    Joplin is someone I’ve known through the excellent work she does in the family law space for a while now, so it was such a privilege to be able to sit down and learn more about her story. Joplin really is such a great example of someone who came into law through a fascinating pathway, found her calling, and has created a unique space in #Lawland where she continues to flourish.

    While covering what led her to where she is now (Joplin’s rural upbringing, love of jewellery, time in Germany and how coral trout led her into the law), a key piece for me here is Joplin’s observation on the importance of loving people as a lawyer, and our role in creating a great customer service experience. In allowing this love and care for clients to shine, it makes us better – not just as lawyers, but as people too.

    This conversation was so much fun, but also a fantastic insight into something many of us experience in law – ending up in a space that was not a part of our initial plan! Joplin is a beautiful example of how life leads us to unexpected places, and how we can make the most of these opportunities to learn, grow, pivot, and find joy.

    In this interview, Joplin and I also chatted about-



    * If Joplin was not a lawyer she would have been a jewellery designer!

    * Managing your mind through creativity.

    * The perspective Covid has brought us and Joplin’s realisation of the important things in life.

    * Growing up in Emerald country NSW, gave her a passion for regional communities.

    * A rotary exchange in Germany resulted in Joplin moving there for 2 years as a nanny.

    * Re-locating to Carins in North QLD to be closer to her brother, where she stayed for 12 years while raising a family.

    * How a Coral Trout led Joplin to become a lawyer.

    * The many different ways people find themselves on the path to law.

    * Studying at JCU in Cairns and her first work experience stint, led to a change from criminal to family law.

    * After her own divorce, having to make difficult decisions to manage study and a family.

    * After her degree, Joplin was finally able to be with her kids and made the move to Wagga Wagga in NSW.

    * Making the right decision at the right moment.

    * Joplin’s experience in Legal Aid and her recommendation for young lawyers to work here for a stint.

    * Moving to the Hunter Valley to buy a farm and start a law firm!

    * The evolution, and deconstruction, of Joplin Lawyers

    * The care for the client is essential and Joplin discovered that loving people leads to loving the law.

    * Reflection brings clarity and, the perspective of balance.

    * She has become an advocate for Domestic Violence Abuse and the awards she has won for her work including an Order of Australia Medal.

    * Joplin’s advice to young lawyers coming into the industry.

    * Joplin’s Happiness Tip.



    Sit back and enjoy this interview with Joplin Higgins.

    ***



















    Learn more here about upcoming events and courses and connect with Clarissa Rayward at the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ knowledge centre-  A community for lawyers who want to make the best out of their life in and outside of the law.   







































    Listen to last week’s episode here

    • 58 min
    Episode 227- Be really good at one thing with James Janke and Drew Hamilton

    Episode 227- Be really good at one thing with James Janke and Drew Hamilton

    In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing James Janke and Drew Hamilton.  James and Drew are together the owners and operators of Hamilton Janke, a progressive criminal law practice based in Newcastle.  These two friends started their business a few years ago and I so enjoyed hearing the ‘how and why’ behind that decision.  Partnerships in legal firms were certainly the way of the past, but we don’t see so many of them popping up now and yet here is one that really works.  For James and Drew it is the combination of their shared drive for excellance in their area of law but perhaps more importantly their common belief in the value of life and family.  This  is a fun interview for anyone with an interest in building a firm from the ground up.  These two have done it, successfully, and I can see why having had the chance to enjoy their banter for this hour!  We talked surfing, being a Rock Star and somewhere in there life as a criminal lawyer!  My favourite tip from these two was a reminder that as business owners it is important to give yourself permission to have downtime, without any guilt.

    In this interview, James Janke and Drew Hamilton and I also chatted about-



    * If James was not a lawyer he would have been a firefighter and Drew would have been a Lawyer or a Rock Star! (yes I did get a little distracted by the Rock Star ideal!)

    * The connection between the performing arts and advocacy as a courtroom lawyer.

    * James was born in the UK and moved to Newcastle where he completed his studies.

    * Drew grew up locally in the Hunter Valley and why he chose the law.

    * The value of human connection in law.

    * How Drew and James’ paths crossed and the aligned values they shared.

    * The beginnings of ‘Hamilton Janke’ in 2016.

    * The impact of the pandemic on life in law- the good and the not so good!

    * The opportunities of smaller boutique firms and rural local communities.

    * The importance of giving yourself permission to have downtime, without guilt.

    * Why their business partnership works and how they are able to support each other.

    * The challenges of running a legal practice.

    * Becoming agile in a traditionally rigid legal system.

    * The transfer over to fixed fees and the advantage of this for their clients.

    * A couple of criminal law stories- and a kangaroo in court!  Literally!!

    * The operation of the criminal justice system during the pandemic.

    * The future for ‘Hamilton Janke’

    * Their tips for their younger selves going though university.

    * James Janke and Drew Hamilton’s Happiness Tips.



    Sit back and enjoy this interview with James Janke and Drew Hamilton.

    ***



















    Learn more here about upcoming events and courses and connect with Clarissa Rayward at the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ knowledge centre-  A community for lawyers who want to make the best out of their life in and outside of the law.   







































    Listen to last week’s episode here

    • 51 min
    Episode 226- No Smoke and Mirrors, just Customer Service with Hunter Steele

    Episode 226- No Smoke and Mirrors, just Customer Service with Hunter Steele

    In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing Hunter Steele.  Now Hunter is a lawyer turned tech company head and one of the creators of the Legal Software Company Smokeball.  So how does a boy from Western NSW find himself at the head of one of the world’s leading legal tech companies?  Well that is what I found out in this chat!

    As is the case in so many of these interviews, I was again reminded that our training and skills as lawyers have such broad application if we let them.  For Hunter, it was growing up in his Dad’s regional law firm, seeing the everyday challenges of small business, that kickstarted his interest in legal tech.  That and a wonderful friendship early in his career with another lawyer turned tech guru, Christian Beck.

    Hunter’s knowledge and love of legal practice shines through in this conversation.  And I have decided that building legal tech is sort of ‘building’ with virtual lego blocks so it makes so much more sense to me now!  Jokes aside though, Hunter is another great example of using your skills, following your passions and building a career in law that works for you.

    In this interview, Hunter and I also chatted about-



    * If Hunter was not a lawyer he would have been in the tech space – which is where he is now! 

    * Hunter has always been creative and shares how he ended up in the software field, rather than heading into the construction space.

    * As a child, Hunter lived in Bathurst and his experience of growing up in a beautiful regional town.

    * His time studying law at Bond University.

    * Joining the software writers at ‘Leap’ and how this changed the trajectory of his life.

    * The beginnings of ‘Leap’ and how the founder, Christian Beck, was well ahead of his time.

    * The beginnings of ‘Smokeball’ and how Hunter started this spin-off business with the support of his mentor and.

    * Building the culture within a business has brought the most joy to Hunter.

    * In the last 2000s, Hunter launched Smokeball into America.

    * Hunter’s experience of living in Chicago USA, through Covid and, the political environment in 2021.

    * Legal market trends and how verticalization (or niching) is changing in Australia.

    * A day in the life of Hunter!

    * The legal trend changes, in Australia, and the average law firm’s attitude towards technology.

    * The advantage of a fixed-fee and client-centric business model.

    * Hunter’s predictions for the future of tech in the law.

    * His advice for those looking to shift into technology space and, how these programs can be used to reduce stress.

    * Hunter’s Happiness Tip.



    Sit back and enjoy this interview with Hunter Steele.

    ***



















    Learn more here about upcoming events and courses and connect with Clarissa Rayward at the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ knowledge centre-  A community for lawyers who want to make the best out of their life in and outside of the law.   







































    Listen to last week’s episode here

    • 58 min
    Episode 225 – Leaving people better than when you found them with Kass Hall

    Episode 225 – Leaving people better than when you found them with Kass Hall

    In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing the wonderful Kass Hall. I met Kass during 2020, not long after she moved up to Brisbane from her home town of Melbourne (right as Covid hit too!). This is a really interesting chat with a very special person, and I think there’s a lot to take from Kass’ story.

    Kass is a lawyer, an artist, a teacher, a humanitarian, and an AFL enthusiast. She’s had a diverse background in both her career and her life experience, and has come into the law as a graduate a little later in life after a prior career in teaching. She is passionate about kindness and helping others, being candid in our struggles, and emphasizes the importance of owning your experiences and struggles in order to learn and grow.

    Kass takes us through the difficulties in beginning a legal career after having previous vocations, the realities of health struggles and how they can put life on hold, and the ultimate importance of knowing how and when to say, ‘I am not okay’ – which applies to mental health as much as it does to physical health. She has also struggled with her mental and physical health extensively over her lifetime, and has developed a unique resilience and perspective from these challenges.

    Ultimately, Kass’ life experience – both in law and outside of it – is a really powerful story for anyone looking to find their place and make their mark on the world. The bottom line of Kass’ story, and the key piece in her finding happiness?

    While we can’t control what happens through our lives, what we can control is our responses to these challenges.

    In this interview, Kass Hall and I also chatted about –



    * If Kass was not a lawyer she would have been a teacher, which she was in her earlier days.

    * She is an avid AFL Football fan and grew up in inner-city Melbourne.

    * Yelling at a football game always gives Kass an emotional boost and is a great outlet.

    * Kass’ parents are both in the police force and she shares some childhood experiences.

    * At the young age of 12, Kass was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which has had a lasting impact on her.

    * The risky and long-lasting procedures Kass endured as a child, and having life-changing decisions made on your behalf.

    * Kass’ mental health and the impact her illness has had on her life.

    * ‘You cannot be physically healthy unless you are mentally healthy.’

    * Control in our lives is lacking – all you can control is your reaction.

    * Learning to say ‘I’m not okay today’, and Kass’ tips for walking alongside someone dealing with mental health struggles.

    * ‘Don’t be afraid to screw up – life goes on.’

    * Losing a partner at age 21 and how she coped with this event.

    * Getting to the end of her visual arts degree before going into teaching.

    * Her four cancer re-occurrences and the miracle surgery.

    * Kass wrote a book before her 4th cancer re-occurrence, and how this journey led her to become a legal studies teacher.

    * Kass’ passion is to represent young people in a more impactful way.

    * The move to Brisbane just before the pandemic hit and her difficulty in finding work.

    * Kass’ passion for young people, justice and fariness.

    * Kass encourages everyone she meets to seek legal advice of some sort before self-represening.

    * Leaving people better than when you found them; ‘It’s not about me – I want to be the one to push others forward.’

    * Kass’s Happiness Tip.



    Sit back and enjoy this interview with Kass Hall.

    ***



















    Learn more here about upcoming events and courses and connect with Clarissa Rayward at the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ knowledge centre-  A co...

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Episode 224 – Passion, Purpose and Pepsi Max – Finding a New Way with Carolyn Devries

    Episode 224 – Passion, Purpose and Pepsi Max – Finding a New Way with Carolyn Devries

    In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing Carolyn Devries.

    Carolyn has been someone who has been working in a similar space to me for a long time, and finally getting to sit down and talk with her has been such a pleasure. She is running the first ever privately owned not-for-profit law firm in the family space in Australia, ‘New Way Lawyers’, and she has found a very different way of structuring a law practice!

    When we think of innovation in law, the focus is often on legal technology or the financial benefits, and Carolyn’s perspective has been a really refreshing way to reflect on legal innovation with an emphasis on the humans involved. It was quite some time ago that we did this interview, as is the chaos of 2021 for me, but it really was such a poignant discussion. Carolyn is an incredible person who has lived an exceptional life, driven by her values and purpose in every space of her life and career. From a farming property in a small country town in NSW, she has travelled the world and taken time to carve her own path – a path that has led her to ‘New Way Lawyers’.

    Carolyn has created a very unique and holistic practice that makes legal help more accessible. ‘New Way Lawyers’ exists to help guide separating families – regardless of financial situation – through the hardest time of their lives. Not only does Carolyn’s team help legally, but they also give emotional and practical support to their clients too. She has created a unique business that embraces both a legal and not-for-profit framework to create a practice that is both incredibly innovative and deeply empathetic. There is a strong sense of peace and freedom for Carolyn in knowing that she is where she is meant to be – in her family, career, faith, and home in Brisbane.

    Carolyn offers us a lot of learnings in regards to finding happiness in the law, and her passion, values, purpose and sense of humour are key pieces in that.

    In this interview, Carolyn and I also chatted about-



    * If Carolyn was not a lawyer, she would love to review musicals and books! However, ultimately, law is her calling.

    * Carolyn’s upbringing and travels – from rural NSW to Northern Canada, Namibia, Kakadu and Nullabor with her husband (and later children!)

    * Her pathway to law; decided to study law as she describes herself as being a ‘typical candidate’, however, she hated studying it until she began to work with clients and realised that it could be a pathway to help people.

    * Sharing her difficulties in the confronting nature of criminal law, and how this resulted in her closing the door on law for a while.

    * After moving to Kakadu, Carolyn became involved in the not-for-profit sector working with First Nation Australians. Through this work, she found a deep passion that led her to her Masters in the management of not-for-profit organisations.

    * While in Canada and continuing her Masters, Carolyn’s realisation that while she had ‘closed the door’ on law, it was not locked.

    * The puzzle pieces of Carolyn’s experiences, chance meetings and how this brought her to a place of contentment.

    * The beginnings of New Way Law Firm – Australia’s first not for profit law firm.

    * The moment of fear, and how Carolyn overcame these fears with passion and purpose.

    * The team at New Way and the ‘more than people’ attitude of the firm.

    * Carolyn explains ‘Social Franchising’ and how her firm works.

    * How New Way delivers client care activities outside of the traditional legal sphere, including the weekly ‘Client Care Blog’ and her in-court client support.

    * The benefits of moving the measure of success from the cash to the customer.

    * The importance in seeing family law as an experience, as opposed to as a service.

    * Innovation in law, usually connected to technology,

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

Patrickm2891 ,

Love this podcast!

Happiness is not something commonly associated with lawyers and the practice. No one ever says, “My lawyer is so happy!” Finding happiness with our work, lives, and selves is so important. I love the flow and style of this podcast - so many perspectives, and the conversation is so compelling.

Ccm68wh ,

Great interviews and a positive message

I’ve enjoyed these episodes, learning about what other lawyers do to find happiness and what drives them to serve clients.

Dina Cataldo ,

Wonderful conversations with lawyers

This podcast is a delight to listen to. It's low key and introduces different perspectives of lawyers. If you're a lawyer who is looking for something more than the daily grind, this podcast is for you.

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