Photo credit: Organizers of the IV Congress of Catalan Lawyers

On 30 January 2019, the Official Journal of the Generalitat de Catalunya (DOGC no. 7799, of January 30th, 2019) published Resolution JUS/110/2019, of 22 January, amending the Regulations for Catalan Lawyers of the Council of the Illustrious Bar Associations of Catalonia.

This regulation, which was debated during the IV Congress of Catalan Lawyers (September 27th and 28th, 2018), recognizes for the first time the importance of the emotional well-being of lawyers in the exercise of their functions. In the sixth section of the Explanatory Memorandum, it states that:

“The new requirements of our profession in this new century make it highly recommendable to adopt measures for the emotional well-being of professionals. In this sense, the bar associations have to provide tools/mechanisms to the members to counteract the emotional situations/problems derived from the exercise of the profession and which put at risk the emotional well-being of the lawyer both in his professional and private sphere. Training in emotional intelligence, empathy, and active listening skills is also necessary both to be able to manage those emotions that can be harmful in the exercise of the daily tasks of the legal profession and to be able to notice the emotional state of the client and thus provide better advice and defense”.

But not just this. The Catalan legal profession has not remained a mere proclamation but urges bar associations and the Council itself to adopt measures in favor of emotional well-being. In this sense, the second additional provision of the Regulations for Catalan Lawyers establishes that:

“The bar associations and the Council shall foster the adoption of measures in favor of the emotional well-being of lawyers, providing them with tools or mechanisms to be able to counteract the emotional situations/problems derived from the exercise of the profession and which put their well-being at risk.”

ISMA’s participation in the Congress of Catalan Lawyers

The original proposal for the new Regulations for Catalan Lawyers did not contain any of these references. For this reason, the president of ISMA, in his capacity as a non-practicing member of the Illustrious Bar Association of Barcelona (ICAB), presented a series of amendments aimed at addressing this issue.

You can find the amendments in two links: in the post “Enmiendas al articulado de la Propuesta de Reforma de la Normativa de la Abogacía Catalana“, or in the pages 8 to 10 of the document of amendments prepared by the Catalan Bar Association.

Also during the Congress, Gabriela Boldó Prats, member of the ISMA Well-Being Committee, and Manel Atserias Luque had the opportunity to participate in the colloquium “Equilibrio en la profesión: El bienestar emocional en el ejercicio de la abogacía“, moderated by Jordi Albareda Cañadell, Dean of the Lleida Bar Association.

In the words of the president of ISMA:

“The Catalan legal profession has taken a very important step concerning the well-being of the profession. The simple fact of recognizing its relevance in the exercise of the profession is already a triumph for the collective. It is true that the Anglo-Saxon legal profession has a significant advantage for us, but we highly value both the gesture and the commitment you have made.

We want to thank the Council of the Illustrious Bar Associations of Catalonia for allowing us to participate in the Congress. If our contribution was useful in any way, we are satisfied.